Couple Q&A: From Long Distance to Comparison

Last week, as I had been getting some questions about my relationship with my fiancee, Johnny, I put out a question on Instagram to inspire a Q&A blog post about our relationship that I hope is helpful to someone out there. Maybe you’re in the thick of a long distance relationship you believe to be right, and need some encouragement. Or maybe you’ve been feeling that your relationship is not one you see as resulting in marriage, and you don’t want to be in it anymore.

Johnny and I are in no way experts on these things, but we do have 21 months of long distance, an almost break-up, and lots of prayer under our belts. We both also have theological educations, and hearts for Jesus-centered relationships, which we believe to be the most thriving and purposeful.

That said, let’s dive into the questions!

How did you wait for the right person?

Cassie: Personally, “waiting” for a relationship has never been a struggle. If anything, I’ve always been quite independent and confident, never feeling like I needed a man to complete me, or to be in a relationship. If there was ever a person in my life that I was interested in or that I hoped would pursue me, that was different, but I’ve always known that relationships are only good in any way if you’re in love with the person you’re in a relationship with. “Any old relationship” is not only cheap, it’s unfair, selfish, and pointless.

That said, if you are someone who struggles with feeling like you might be happier in a relationship, remember that being single is far better than being with the WRONG person. My answer to this question is that, before I met Johnny, my person, I wasn’t “waiting” at all, or seeking a relationship. And, when Johnny met me, he had just been reflecting on the fact that he might be happiest if he were single all his life. God truly had other plans, and made those clear.

If you feel like you’re in a waiting period, seek God, the only eternal and perfect lover, as your ultimate satisfaction. Even as I’m preparing to marry Johnny, he will always be my SECOND love, with Jesus being the only one who can truly and perfectly fulfill me. Consider praying, without your own interest, for your future husband/wife, that he/she also would be rooted in Jesus as his/her first love.

Have you ever received negative comments about your relationship? How do you deal with it?

Johnny: I don’t think I’ve ever received negative comments about Cass and I, but there have been comments out of concern and care for us.

If someone is voicing concerns to you, it is important to listen to and consider any and all concerns and pray about them. Consider who the person is that is speaking these things, too. Have they proven trustworthy prior to your relationship? Who are they, and are they gossipy/spiteful, or people you hold with high regard and respect?

Cassie: Ultimately give these concerns to God in prayer, and ask Him to reveal any truth to them if it is unclear to you of the motive behind the comments. Relationships can be blinding, and it is important to hear outside opinions and respect them. But if you are truly and wholly aware of the fact that your relationship is sound and healthy, and someone is simply being rude about it, talk to people you do trust about those comments, and stand firm in the assurance you have in the health of your relationship.

How did you survive long distance?

Johnny: We supported each other’s differing passions, hobbies, and callings. We focused so much on communication with each other, trust in each other and establishing trust, and finding cool and unique, Christ-like ways to love each other and show each other love.

Cassie: One of these crucial things for us has been letter-writing. Taking time out of our days to sit and write, and putting the effort in to mailing these letters, has been one of the most tangible ways we’ve shown each other love.

Ultimately, without being able to trust each other’s faithfulness to Jesus, and His work in each of us, long distance would have been much harder. But we both very vehemently believed from the beginning that, if we were part of God’s plan for each other, distance should not stand in the way… and because of God, and simply, our selfless love for EACH OTHER, we’ve almost kicked it in the butt.

How do you avoid jealousy of other relationships?

Cassie: If “social media” jealousy is the issue, remember that SOCIAL MEDIA IS A FACADE. The same way that photos, bodies, and captions are touched up and altered and simply not real life (the real life is the person behind the screen monotonously scrolling, posting, adjusting), many people use social media as a means of affirming themselves, and feeling better about aspects of their lives that they aren’t actually very happy with. Remember these things, and resolve to be happy for others, and work to genuinely hope the best for them.

Johnny: However, if you see or hear about something in another relationship, such as focus on prayer, couple devotions, humour, date nights, etc. that is a positive thing lacking in your relationship, talk to your partner about these things being important to you. If that sort of communication is not done in a healthy way between you and your significant other, this may be a red flag.

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Our Proposal Story (+How We Met Three Years Ago)

I had just told myself university would not be the time for a boy.

But God knew differently.

I noticed Johnny Fulford the moment I sat down in my Tuesday afternoon “Public Faith and Theology” class. He was smilely, shy-looking, and downright handsome. When the professor asked us students to share our names, and a little bit about ourselves, I knew his name, “Johnny,” would stick in my mind.

Every Tuesday afternoon that first semester of my freshman year in university, I was encouraged and excited by what Johnny had to say on the topic of Christianity, much of which related to God’s almighty power and sufficient grace. In a place fraught with haughty opinions and lacking semblance of truth, Johnny only spoke when absolutely necessary, and without drawing attention to himself… except for, perhaps, my attention.

I also caught him nodding along with some of the points I would bring up, while I tried not to care. After all, I didn’t want to get caught up in a boy.

But God had other plans.

I always hoped Johnny might talk to me after class. Instead, when we had a field trip to Queen’s Park in Toronto, and I asked a classmate who would be driving there if we could carpool, I saw Johnny approach the same classmate to ask for a ride a few minutes after I did.

Hmmm…

And the car ride was the beginning I’ll never forget.

Johnny and I must have spent more time getting to know each other than I realized, because, when we got to Queen’s Park, a fellow classmate who had also been in the car asked me, “So, are you and Johnny a thing?”

At Queen’s Park, we watched a political debate, and then had the opportunity to ask the politicians questions about their faith. I remember Johnny asking questions that didn’t spark my curiousity about Johnny, but drew me to prayer and to seek God’s will. I wasn’t distracted by him, but pressed forward to focus on God’s heart for these politicians, and our classmates.

It is for that reason that, when Johnny asked me if he could take me for coffee after the field trip, I didn’t say, “I’m actually not dating right now,” I said, “Yes.”

I would later learn that Johnny had also recently wondered if he was called to be single all his life. He had also recently turned down a few other potential relationships. And he had also felt drawn to the way Jesus was working in me.

The coffee date led to more dates. The couple months before Johnny asked me to be his girlfriend were spent awing in Jesus Christ and not in each other. And that is why I love Johnny second. Jesus Himself has called us to, and built up, the foundation on which our relationship stands.

Flash forward three years. Johnny and I are both almost done university… but in different provinces.

When Johnny and I met, he already knew that the school we both attended in Waterloo, ON was not his forever school. Ten months into our relationship, he transferred to Providence University in Otterburne, MB, as it is a Christian university where he could play varsity soccer in the States.

So, much of our relationship has been long distance, though we see each other four months of the summer, over Christmas, and have surprise visited each other, too.

This December 14th, 2018, Johnny returned home from Winnipeg for Christmas, and we reunited emotionally and excitably as always. Johnny’s birthday was the following day, and his sister-in-law had texted me a few days before, having bought us tickets to the Toronto Symphony, and recommending a dinner spot as a birthday gift to Johnny for both of us.

That next day, I was so focused on making Johnny’s 23rd birthday special. After giving him his birthday gift, which included 23 photos of us with 23 things I love about him, Johnny suggested we dress up fancy for the symphony.

We drove to Toronto, talking endlessly, and were so pleasantly surprised by the beautiful atmosphere of the dinner spot that Johnny’s sister-in-law recommended, Bar Reyna. We enjoyed delicious food in one of my favourite settings of all times, and each other’s company, before deciding to walk half an hour to the symphony rather than drive over.

Being pretty clueless with directions, I didn’t realize we were passing Queen’s Park until we were standing right outside it. “Wow, is this Parliament?” I asked. There wasn’t a soul around, and it was dark outside, lit only by tinselly Christmas lights adorning the trees. “Yeah,” Johnny smiled. “I’m surprised you only just noticed.”

I immediately started reminiscing on that field trip three years ago. “I knew I was drawn to you, not because of who you were, but because of who Jesus was in you,” I said. “I knew I believed in Him the same way you did. I just had never before had the vocabulary for it.”

Johnny and I were both tearing up. I was silently praising and thanking God.

And it wasn’t until he stopped me, right out front of Queen’s Park, that I had a single CLUE that he was about to ask me a very important question. “I have a confession,” he said.

My heart went into my throat in excitement, emotion, and joy.

“Sarah didn’t plan this day, I did. All to bring you here, where we first met. To have the hopes of having the best birthday gift in the world.”

The rest of what he said was a blur. I was in the midst of the greatest surprise of my life.

When he got down on one knee and said, “Cassandra Andrea Wolfe, will you be my wife?” I nodded vehemently before pulling him up and kissing him.

Finally, Johnny pointed to the bushes far off, where my sister, Krystal, was taking photos. Johnny had paid for her trip down to capture the moment.

A Letter to My Best Friend on Her 21st Birthday

Dear Maddie,

You’ve heard it before. But when I met you, literally from the moment I saw you, I remember thinking, consciously, “I want to be that girl’s friend.” Little did I know, less than a week later, I would share more of my soul with you than I ever had shared, and feel so quickly like you had been one of my closest friends for a long time already.

Embarking, then, on university together, every step of the way, I cannot imagine a university experience without you. From crying what feels like all my biggest cries with you, feeling 100% completely unjudged and 100% fully loved… from laughing some of my most obnoxious laughs with you, spending endless late nights half writing papers half fully engaged in long, sometimes deep, sometimes very not deep, conversations… living together the past two and half years, teaching each other, learning from each other, growing together. Maddie, I have learned so much from you.

I have learned that truly listening is one of the greatest gifts you could offer anyone. I always know I am so heard when I talk to you.

I have learned that long tangents about leggings, ketchup, grapefruits, socks, and other “little things” are possible, and that I love listening to yours.

I have learned that a life centred on Jesus that starts with prayer and submission to Him shows in that person’s selflessness and love. He is in you, Madds.

I have learned a lot about laundry, hair care, and the importance of removing my make-up.

I have learned and established some of my greatest morals and values alongside you and with your help.

I have learned the importance of laughter and taking breaks from being in the school zone.

I’ve learned and witnessed the beauty of trusting God with some of the things we feel we don’t want to trust Him with– knowing that His plans are always better.

Maddie, thank-you for being one of the greatest blessings of my 21 years. I know you are my lifelong sister, and I cannot wait to see what Jesus has in store and calls you to this year. I love you so very much.

One Major vs. Two: Is a Double Major the Way To Go?

Today’s post is all about double majoring.

Why did I decide to complete my undergrad as a double Major? What are the pros and cons of this? Who I recommend it to?

My application story:

I cannot recall ever being stressed about post-secondary, having doubts, or thinking twice. Looking back, I truly see this as a gift from God.

I declared in middle school that I was going to go to Wilfrid Laurier University for Christian Studies, for a couple main reasons: I was under (wrong) the impression that this was one of the only programs in Canada for Christian pastoralship, which I believed to be my calling since the age of nine, and my opa, one of biggest inspirations, was once the dean of the seminary at Laurier. I saw myself following in footsteps.

Throughout high school, while colleagues stressed about where they were applying, what schools might accept them, and how many different programs they should apply for, I… just wasn’t stressing. And in Grade 12, when it came time to apply, I applied solely to the Christian Studies I graduate program at Laurier.

I was accepted (the main requirement was a good English grade, which I had always had).

Coming to Laurier, still without question, boy was I ever made more aware than ever of just how much God has guided my path.

Not only have I grown closer to Him and learned about Him in ways only He could have foreseen;

I met the love of my life,

Some of my lifelong best friends,

and discovered naturally what gifts I really wanted to/felt called to utilize for ministry, and what my dream of “being a pastor” might look like.

In the process, I realized that majoring in solely Christian Studies meant I had to take a lot of electives, which, in first year, were very random according to my availability, from art history to Spanish (my only Cs in my university career– can you tell my interests?!). However, I took one English elective called Reading Fiction, and remembered words of many peers and role models in my life, from my opa, who said, “You would love to take literature courses,” my English teachers over the years, who encouraged me to pursue writing, and my own parents. These affirmations helped me to recognize a fire inside of me that I had always known, but never considered in terms of university, because what kind of job does one get with an English Literature degree?

All I knew was that I wanted more English classes. And so, I applied to double Major, and was accepted.

And the English classes I’ve taken have contributed to my degree, my maturation, and my learning in more ways than I can begin to express. I am a more well-rounded writer, more in tune with the importance of history, and in tune with my passion in analyzing classic writers.

Double Major If…

1. You realize most of your electives are in one field.

2. Your grades are suffering in your electives.

3. You cannot pick between two majors.

Don’t Double Major if…

1. You’re not incredibly confident in your choice of 1st major.

2. You find yourself wanting to explore a variety of other fields.

3. You don’t want to be on a strict schedule with course options.

My English Lit studies have complimented my Christian Studies in that the literature I’m reading for English classes has caused me to think critically about the application of ministry to different individuals in a Christian setting and in the world.

Money, Money, Money: How I Went From Being a Self-Serving “Hyper-Saver” to Finding Balance with my Finances

Money.

It’s one of those things I was always taught not to talk about. I learned in childhood not to disclose how much of it I had, not to talk about my savings– and to save as much as possible.

Proverbs 13:11

Dishonest money dwindles away, but whoever gathers money little by little makes it grow.

Proverbs 10:4

Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth.

These two proverbs are I think important when considering the use of money and, actually, the importance of saving it and “being smart” with it.

However, one could easily go to far with this, and save money with only his/herself and his own life in mind.

1 Timothy 6:10

The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

When I was in this hyper-saving, can’t-spend-a-penny-outside-my-budget mindset, I thought I was pretty awesome. I thought the amount I had in my savings was a virtuous thing. I thought I was better off than someone who spent a ton of money. Now, I didn’t think these things consciously, but they were definitely beliefs in my subconscious.

Now, reflecting on what I actually believe to be true, and praying about it, I have learned a few things.

Budgeting is important, but it’s not everything. As those proverbs state, wisdom with money is certainly important, because I don’t want to spend it all on myself. A lack of a plan with money is not what I’m called to. But an inability to go out with a friend for coffee who is having a really hard time because I “went over my coffee” budget is not necessary. If that friend really wants Starbucks, I can afford a couple dollars for a coffee– and even think about treating her of course! If this becomes excessive, I may think about inviting that friend for at-home coffee instead, but it doesn’t need to be so wound up in “my budget.” That is where I’m convinced of my conviction that it becomes selfless saving.

It is always better to give than to receive. Jesus Himself says this. And a giver is who Jesus is. And since really recognizing this is as Truth, this importance of giving– I’ve experienced such freedom with money.

Obviously, I’m not going to give all of my money away! Part of the calling I have with money in the society we live is to look after myself, paying bills, and even understanding when I’m meant to bless myself with that money. But knowing that I am blessing myself because I’m honouring God when I bless others with money– also recognizing the privilege it is, but that it’s not everything, is man-made, and temporary– is important.

All things belong to God– including “my” money. It isn’t really mine if everything under Heaven is God’s.

There is a common saying along the lines of “you earned it!” But I would urge you to think critically about everything you hear. As a Christian, I think about this in light of Scripture. My life story, actually, is that I am undeserving of any of the blessings graciously bestowed upon me– it is entirely because of Jesus that I have this life. This is my core belief. And so, when I work, and receive money for that work, I didn’t “earn” it or deserve it as much as I was given it as part of duty: working for the glory of God. And so, I come under Him with my money.

I had an experience in church a few months ago in which I heard God’s voice so clearly.

I don’t experience His audible voice very often, but He was incredibly clear to me about an amount of money I had in my bag that I was called to give to the church that day.

I was tight for money for the month based on the arbitrary budget I had in my head, and going over that budget would usually cause me stress.

Rather, I was overcome by Jesus’ love and very easily gave that money up. I have already watched Him tangibly bless and multiply it, as He promises to.

Since then, I have learned that it’s ok for me to like budgeting. It’s actually a blessing that I enjoy saving. But the Holy Spirit will always speak about generosity, and when He does, it’s always for all good that I listen.

There is also always room, and in Christ, I am literally, actually, truly free from the law. I have learned my fair share about the destruction strict rules can wreak on a person.

Matthew 6:21

Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Above all, I pray my treasure is in Jesus Christ, and that my heart, then, is fixed on serving Him.

Fall Favourites 2018

It is mid-November.

I am mid-way through the first semester of my last year of my undergrad. 
Can anyone in the same place– or who’s been there– vouch for the insanity? 
Yeah. Breaks in order to carry out passions are necessary, I have found. 

That is why I keep up the blog. Many of these posts, have proven to be helpful for some, and many of them just fun reads, and many of them sparking conversations that have changed my life… or, I’m told, someone else’s… 

So, I keep blogging. I pray God continues to use it. 

Today, Wednesday, has the blessing of being a break in my week, consisting of zero lectures, and time to study, reset, hit the gym, hang out with friends, etc. This morning I was blessed by a meeting with my pastors, where these amazing friends of mine blessed me with their time and wisdom. I am so incredibly grateful to go to a church in which the leadership sees community and mentorship as a vital part of church.

After which, I got to head home and clean with my beautiful roommate, bride-to-be, and friend, Mary. This girl is one of my greatest blessings, and we have most definitely become like sisters. Investing in relationships and people in her life so beautifully, Mary has taught me so much about self-awareness and awareness of others. Maddie and Mary are both such incredible blessings to me that I cannot imagine my life without. 

And now, I’m enjoying a break in studying to blog, and felt inspired to do one of my old favourites post:
Essentially sharing the top ten miscellaneous “things” I’m loving this season, that I think you might appreciate, too.

Music. 

PVRIS. Thanks to a co-worker and friend, I have discovered my love for girl alternative music, particularly this band.

Food. 

I used to think I hated pumpkin… but I have this new fancy for it. Versatile for both sweet and savoury recipes, so healthy, and so flavourful, I especially love it in this recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction. It’s also super affordable! 

Menu.

The restaurant I work at just launched its new menu! And it is incredible. If you are in the Kitchener/Waterloo area, be sure to check out one of our two locations!

Serving something for literally every kind of eater, catering to all allergies and dietary preferences, plain ol picky eaters, and meat and potato lovers. Real people, real food– and that’s what makes me passionate about this place.

Podcast.


I am so grateful for the podcasts broadcasted by my pastor, Mike Rutledge. For leaders of any kind, these podcasts are sure to glean something true for you! While those are not public as of now, his sermons are– and they are phenomenal. Check them out here .

Class.

I am loving my Christian Studies Seminar class so much. Learning such tangible things about program development, research, and integrating different practices, I feel I am finally honing in on some of my passions and callings. 
To brief the project that is coming out of this class, head here.

Worship.

Sitting still with Jesus and singing this song to Him is powerful.

Hobby.

I would say that my number one “hobby” is tap dancing. It is one of my favourite things to do, most definitely my favourite form of exercise, and a practice that gives me so much joy. My school showcase is coming up on December 2nd!

Make-Up.

This eyebrow pencil gave me so much more eyebrow confidence! (When I choose to use it, haha).

Blogger.

Currently catching up on all the posts by my girl Mackenzie. 

Fierce, strong, and beautiful, she is a must-read blogger.

New Friendship.

Blooming so quickly, I have a new friend at church named Kayla, who is one of the fastest friendships I’ve ever formed. She is someone I feel I’ve known forever, and who I’ve been able to open up with instantly. Do you know those friendships? So special and such blessings. People will trump places, work, and experiences for me, always. 

How to Grocery Shop Creatively On a Student Budget

If you know me, you know how much I love cooking and food creating.

You know that the kitchen is my happy place, and that I love getting creative.

If you really know me (comment if you’re one of the few😝) you know that I have some really strange food combo loves (sweet potato with cinnamon and peanut butter and chicken and banana anyone)? You also know that I’m pretty meticulous with my budget, because I’m a student, and I want my money to go toward blessing others more than my own groceries.

While I recognize that I need an abundance of food to live, I don’t need to live in excess.

SO, I keep this passion alive while on a tight budget of $150-200 per month toward groceries by following a few little guidelines every time I shop:

1. Do I need a grain? Am I stocked up on cool/creative pastas, cereals, rice, flours, etc.? If not, I’ll grab one new one. Also, oats are a necessity for me. *Story time* a lady at the bus stop today literally saw oats in my bag, pointed them out, and we proceeded to have a lengthy conversation about how amazing and versatile oatmeal is. We swapped a few recipes.

2. Veggies. These I buy weekly. Depending on how full the fridge is, I usually buy one green variety and one starchy variety. I’ve been loooving pumpkin recently!

3. Fruit. I usually stock up on two types and they’ll be gone by the end of the week. My most heavily used are bananas and frozen cherries/blueberries. I also love apples and dates!

4. Fats. If Im out of a cooking spray, a sauce, or, most importantly, nut butter, I’ll grab a new one!

5. Proteins. I get most of my meat and eggs in bulk from a local farm, so it’s purchased on special trips with my momma! If I need chicken or want to try a fish or something I will, and I also almost always have chickpeas handy!

6. Treats. Treats are important. My go to’s are popcorn, flavoured drinks, dairy free ice cream, chips, dark chocolate, etc.

Having these staple foods at hand is, for me, perfect for making creative and delicious meals!

Like the ones linked here.

I really hope these were relevant tips for some of you students out there!

Tell me– when you go grocery shopping, do you just shop, or do you go in with a list?