Manitoba Things: Crushing Long Distance

Long time no blog!


For the past ten days, I have been in beautiful, bare, COLD Otterburne, Manitoba. Finally visiting Johnny’s school for the first time, meeting and getting to know his friends, and understanding his life here, and man, it has been like a dream to be able to do so.

I took off last Thursday afternoon from Hamilton, after a beautiful day with my sister to celebrate her birthday. I had planned homework and readings for the plane ride over, but instead found myself mesmerized by the overview of God’s world, humbled beyond words at His sovereignty, and just submitted myself to worship and prayer over the week. The Lord calmed my anxious heart and stilled me before Him as I prayed for those back home, and those I’d soon be seeing, and just that God would be glorified in and through this entire trip.

When the plane landed, my whole body filled with anticipation and excitement about just seeing Johnny. I’d told everyone as I was leaving: I keep forgetting I’m going on a plane, going to Manitoba… I’m just so excited to be with the person I’m in love with.

Exiting the plane, my phone dead, I was bursting with excitement and love, hoping Johnny would be right on the other side of the tunnel– but I had to wander to the top of a flight of stairs instead, which, at the bottom of, was Johnny, with a bouquet of red roses and wearing a smile that melted my heart more than it did two years ago. All the missing and praying and looking only and forever to Jesus of the past month of plunged me down that massive flight of stairs and into Johnny’s arms, and for a moment it was as if we were the only two people in the airport.

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We grabbed food quickly before heading to Johnny’s hockey game, through big city Winnipeg into completely bare, prairie towns. Johnny decided to play in the hockey game despite us having missed the first half. I had been anticipating meeting many of the people Johnny has been telling me about for about a year and a half, and being able to actually be in this his everyday life was surreal. It took forever to sink in.

I sat with Johnny’s best friend’s girlfriend, LaDawn, and some of her friends to watch the end of the hockey game before meeting Johnny’s three best friends, and other friends on the hockey team. LaDawn and her friend Janelle, as well as everyone else I met, were so welcoming, and talking to them right away just made me so excited for new friendships. Again, I felt humbled and hyper-aware of how BIG the world is– how many people the Lord calls child, calls to relationship with him, and how easy it is to walk, rather, in our own bubbles.

There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. EPHESIANS 4:4-6

One of the most prominent things I have learned in the midst of long distance dating is the vitality of genuine selflessness, and how much it is God’s whole heart. Oftentimes when I am just missing Johnny and pray, I am filled with joy reminded that God is always with him, loving him better than I could, more fully than I could… more period than I could even imagine. Worldly distance is nothing to God, so why should it be a major battle in our relationship?

Ha. Well, it is. It certainly can be. By no means are we perfect at it. But He is!

That night I also met lovely Jamie, Jay’s, another one of Johnny’s closest friends, girlfriend who soon became one of my roommates and beautiful hostesses, in addition to beautiful Raychel. They welcomed me in as if I were a long lost best friend, and we all bonded the moment we met. The gratitude I had for such welcomeness God used to remind me what an important piece this is in life. These girls understood that I was in a foreign place, and so went out of their ways– in the midst of school busyness, in their small shared dorm room, and in their gracious words– to make me feel so at home.

I woke up the next morning with the girls feeling like I’d known them a long time.

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Johnny gave me a tour of the school the next morning, and, when meeting new people and being asked how I had been enjoying my time so far, I kept repeating that it was “surreal– my favourite thing was meeting all these faces.” How neat it was that a little university college in Manitoba could be so exciting to me, I later told Jamie. Her everyday routine was my spontaneous adventure.

Speaking of spontaneity, briefly I must touch on the fact that merely a year ago, a trip like this would have terrified me for the sole reason of food. (To read about my healing from an eating disorder, head here, here, and then here.

Now, the idea of not seeing Johnny and his life and having this chance to be with him because I would not be in control of food not only sounds ridiculously selfish, it sounds laughable, worthless, and downright sad.

Figuring out what I would eat while here was one of the little details we had to pay attention to, though, as Johnny’s school is about an hour away from Winnipeg, the nearest big city, which is where grocery stores are, too. Johnny’s already paid to eat in his caf, but paying by meal would have been quite expensive for me, so we loaded up on groceries that first day, and Johnny had arranged for me to cook at his soccer teammate and friend, Herby’s, house. Twice we went there and I cooked different meals in bulk to keep in Johnny’s dorm fridge for meals for the few weeks. I also bought tons of snacks, and easy foods for breakfast and lunch. It was almost too easy, coming out of the mindset I was once in.

One of the meals I made that would serve five massive dinners over the week was my Pad Thai! I kept it cheap, not grabbing any of the spices I would usually use, but I’m taking the opportunity to share my staple recipe for it. This filling meal is one I don’t think I could get sick of.

Chicken Pad Thai 

(5 servings)


1 rotisserie chicken, cooked and diced (alternatively, use 600g chopped, cooked chicken of choice; I recommend a mix of white and dark meat for more flavour)

1 T grapeseed oil

2 T basil

2 T garlic powder

2 teaspoons chilli powder

5 teaspoons brown sugar

2 teaspoon garlic salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

1/3 cup peanut butter

1 white onion, diced

2 cups broccoli florets

1 red bell pepper

5 eggs

1 package rice noodles, cooked and drained


  1. In a small dish, combine all spices with peanut butter and enough hot water to make a pourable consistency; stir well.
  2. Make sure your rice noodles are cooked and rinsed according to package. In a medium skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, and cook 3-5 minutes, or until translucent. Add broccoli and peppers and sauté until tender, 5-7 minutes. Create a space in the centre of the pan, pushing veggies to outside of the pan. Crack in eggs, and scramble in centre of skillet, adding more oil if necessary. Stir chicken into skillet, and then incorporate pasta. Pour peanut sauce over mixture, and toss to coat everything thoroughly.
  3. Top with crushed cashews, peanuts, bamboo shoots, and/or green onions, if desired.

Speaking of cooking, at Herby’s– another one of my favourite parts of this entire trip. Herby’s house is one of the most welcoming places I’ve ever been. I’d asked Johnny– “are you sure he’ll be okay with us using his house?”

Johnny told me Herby had said, “Of course– my kitchen is your kitchen.”

And that was totally how I felt. I caught myself, while cooking, feeling as though I’d cooked in that kitchen many times before. It was a full house of students, and each time a new person walked in, I didn’t feel in any way strange about being a stranger in their kitchen. I was wholeheartedly, joyfully welcomed and accepted.

I could talk about the welcoming greeting I felt from many of the people I’ve got to meet here– like Maddie, whose coffee shop we visited, where I had one of the many lattes I’d be sampling throughout my time in Manitoba. Johnny spoiled me much too much on this trip, insisting on paying for too many things and on my trying lattes where I always say it’s not worth the money. It was certainly a selfless act on his part, as he’s grown to love and care about my passion for coffee shops, even though it’s not something we share.

Here, the coffee spots we visited:

  1. Good Earth Coffeehouse
  2. Coffee Culture
  3. Espresso Junction
  4. Oakridge Cafe

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We shopped that same day as visiting Maddie’s coffee shop, and even just that ordinary act of walking in the mall together felt like such a privilege. Time together for Johnny and I is not taken for granted– but it doesn’t mean we’re perfect at making it intentional, nor, have I learned, do we need to be.

Some of our time this week was spent just watching The Office, others of it listening to a sermon; some conversations very intentional, and others goofy and relaxed. And that’s just life, too– we can’t expect grandiose plans or picture-perfection out of the people in our lives. Since giving my life to Jesus, He’s debunked those lies that say I should live for myself, or pleasure, or to be served, and rather live for others, for joy, and TO serve Him. This attitude, I pray, He continues to colour my life with.

One of my favourite little parts of the week was one of my first nights here, when Johnny, his three best friends, their girlfriends, and some other friends used one of the school business rooms to project the new “It” movie for all of us to watch. Over sour keys and more laughs than screams, it was more special for me than I can put to words to just be chilled with Johnny’s friends. And by the end of the week, many of them became mine, too.

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Yet another pair of these special, welcoming people were Tim and his girlfriend Maddie, who took us flying in a little plane.

Tim is in school to become a pilot, and he kindly and professionally took us up in the air in a me-size plane.

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And, similarly to my plane ride here, I found myself in awe of God’s creation, laughing at my own smallness and humbled before His mightiness.

Over the next several days, Johnny’s school very quickly began to feel like home. I couldn’t thank Braeden, Hunter, and Jay enough for treating me like they’d always known me, and putting obvious effort into getting to know me.

And Jamie, Jay’s girlfriend and my roommate, has quickly become someone who feels more like a long lost sister. I couldn’t begin to put to words the selfless way this lady took me in, learned genuinely who I am and cared to get to know me, and walked alongside me. Through endless laughs, late nights talking, double dates, and long talks over coffee, Jamie, I feel like I’ve been doing life with you for much longer than this blissful little week. I have a strong inkling you’ll be a big part of my life forever.

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Just as special was the chance Jamie and I had to have coffee with LaDawn, this bubbly, sweet soul who I was so grateful to get to know as well. Bonding over our boyfriends’ love for each other, their many similarities, and our many similarities has felt like a long time coming for me. And how looking to the Lord, submitting to Him as head and loving Him first and fore mostly, ahead of our guys, was the utmost important and umbrella of our relationships.

Again, not that any of us are perfect at it. Or even close. How blessed we are to have the perfect GOD we do.

Do not turn aside from any of the commands I give you today, to the right or to the left, following other gods and serving them. Deuteronomy 28:14

Our triple date evening was a trip to the Old Spaghetti Factory and, Winnipeg’s most famous attraction, The Forks, a beautifully lit skating trail with a fun and vibrant little market.


As terrible as I am at skating, and as AMAZING Johnny is, Johnny hung back with me and patiently, expectantly, and lovingly took his time to teach me, confident in my ability to improve. 50% of my then improving and skating more confidently than I ever have, then, was Johnny’s amazing, unconditionally loving attitude. Which carried straight through when my hands froze and started bleeding, I couldn’t feel my fingers, and we went inside early. When everyone got mini donuts and nothing seemed to be dairy-free, Johnny didn’t stop till we found a cafe that was open and served something I could enjoy too. I watch and feel and experience his spirit put me before himself time and time again, and know that this ultimately comes from his heart to serve his God. Thank-you, my dear Johnny, for teaching me what love looks like in sooo many ways.

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And one of the coolest things for me has been growing in understanding Johnny’s love and passion for sports. Getting to watch him play hockey, and practice soccer, all on teams with awesome people he has grown to love and care so much for felt, too, like such a special privilege. His athleticism blows my mind!


As my time here draws to an end, and this weekend is full of low-key studying, I am reminded sadly of just how precious it is to be typing here next to the man I love as he studies. Even as he bugs me, pushes his hands in my face, playfully tries to push me off my chair. It feels normal and it is, but knowing missing each other certainly makes it difficult to go from being with each other constantly to not at all for a stretch of time. Simply put, he is my best friend.

And, I am constantly reminded, forever and always looked after and tended to through and by the Holy Spirit, who will continue to love him and grow him and draw him to love Jesus, and thus love like Jesus, more every day, and does not need me to do so. Our lives are for God, together or apart. Just like all the beautiful people I met here, who I am also sad to leave.

Though I am so, forever grateful we made this trip, as it was worth any money, any minor inconveniences, to be a part of the life Johnny’s been living and the people he’s been serving. To see the way people so clearly look up to him in this place. To be answered in prayer that the Lord is not done with him here. He’s not only teaching and growing Johnny here in ways he didn’t expect– He’s using Johnny in important ways in the lives of others. I need only support, and live the life He’s called me to.

I’m not saying it’s easy to be apart. It so is not. But God shows us the why and the how in this season.







An Update and an Apple Crisp

Good morning my friends!

There are few things I would rather do with free time in the morning than bake a delicious breakfast that is probably more like dessert, sip coffee, and read my Bible outside with Jesus. I feel blessed when I have these chances, as I did the other day.
As a kid, I hated pies and fruity desserts. Any dessert I saw with berries or apples or fruit of any kind, I steered clear of.
My picky days are gone and I have an appreciation for most every food. As far as fruity desserts go, apple crisp is by far my favourite.
And since it's fruit and oats, it's breakfast, right?😉
I have a sweet tooth, but love how sweet foods are naturally. The only sweetener in this breakfast was dates– although I have made it for dessert and used brown sugar, also of course delicious. I had this, though, with a coffee and a scoop of cookie dough coconut milk ice cream– yes for breakfast– and it was too good not to share my recipe with you.
I didn't measure anything, so these are just guesses for ya! But feel free also just to chuck ingredients in and have fun😊

Breakfast Apple Crisp

Recipe for just 1, but easily multiplied


1 Apple, sliced into thin wedges

3 saver dates, chopped

3 Tbsp oats

1 egg

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1 Tbsp almond milk or any milk

1/2 Tbsp peanut butter

Couple pecans, chopped


1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In oven proof dish, place Apple slices at bottom. Top with one of the dates.

2. In blender, combine the other date, 2 Tbsp of oats, egg, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg, and milk. Blend until smooth and consistent. Pour mixture over apples.

3. In small dish, mix peanut butter, pecans, 1 Tbsp oats, and 1 date. Sprinkle over apples.

4. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until apples are cooked through and top is crispy. Serve hot or cold with a scoop of ice cream!

I also wanted to let y'all know that some updates are coming to the blog. As I pray over it and seek the Lord's will, I feel called to consider topics and posts that I haven't before, and am also just interested in writing about what interests and fills the souls of my readers. I know many of my readers are interested in eating disorder recovery, and that is definitely something I don't want to ignore and feel called to write about authentically.
To give you an idea of what to expect– the usual series will be consistent here:
Monday Devotions
Tuesday Ideas
Wednesday Play-By-Play
Thursday Recipe Share

If there are any questions or specific topics regarding recipes, recovery, or faith that you would like me to address, head to the "Talk to Me" tab and let me know what you're wondering about! This can be anonymous if you'd like.

UPDATE: Travelling to NYC

Wow. What a busy and exhausting but wonderful week it has been.

New York City. “The city that never sleeps.”

My gracious parents took my sisters and I on this family vacation for a week, and while it was an overall wonderful experience, God taught me a lot in terms of anguish– but ultimately love.

I wrote THIS the evening we arrived in the city:

I’m currently typing this on the very high 17th floor terrace of the Edison Hotel in New York City; literally right above NYC’s busiest, nosiest strip. It is 11:41pm, Monday, and the city that never sleeps is certainly not sleeping; in fact, the noises, flashes, and shouts are deafening. Office buildings are aglow; there are giant billboards advertising models and perfumes staring back at me; and I’m here typing on my laptop, messy bun and pjs, after a little cry and prayer time, in awe of my Lord who never ceases to meet me and love me exactly where I’m at.

All the LORD spoke into my heart was what He reminded Martha of in the well-known parable in Luke’s gospel: “Only one thing is needed, and it will not be taken from you” (Luke 10:41).

I was so overwhelmed that first day. I spoke with my dad about how humbling it was to witness such masses of people, knowing and reminded that our God is sovereign over all of them. What peace we can take in that… but also how I anguish seeing such blatant love of the world.


The endless money spending, fixation on fashion and looks, pollution and industrialism and “self-sufficient” focus made me so sad at first, I felt I couldn’t shake it. 

But I prayed that first night, and the Lord reminded me that His Spirit had been in New York City long before I had come; it always had been and always would be. Just like any other time, my only call was to submit to His authority and what He was doing.

Part of that was sharing in anguish for what the devil was attempting, sure, but it was mostly loving and embracing God’s people.

I slept very well that night.

The next morning brought sunshine and bonding time. Endless Starbucks trips throughout the trip became little pockets of curing my homesickness– but of course, I needed only Jesus for that. 


That morning we went to the top of the Rockefeller centre, which provided the best view of the city. I highly recommend this! It was absolutely overwhelming to look out at the sea of architecture.

The rest of that next day brought more touring and pursuing, including a stop outside the famous “Friends” apartment building, and “Waverley Place” of Wizards of Waverley Place. 

Dinner was at a DELICIOUS family style pasta place called Carmine’s. My dad and I happily shared a massive plate of linguine in white wine sauce with garlic shrimp. I want to experience the taste all over again!

Wednesday was Central Park day, where we rented bikes and biked all through the park. So many smiling faces and happy, sunshiney people out enjoying the park, too. I couldn’t stop smiling flying down the hills on my bike.

We had sushi at Whole Foods for lunch and then went to the 9/11 memorial, which was such an emotional place. I felt the Spirit’s presence so strongly in that place.

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Crossing the Brooklyn bridge was next! Right over rush hour and hot and sweaty, we embarked the bridge over zooming cars and the beautiful lake. Again, I felt so small, so aware of my only purpose as the only eternal One’s child and servant.

We ferried to Stanton Island that evening and I enjoyed more seafood and pasta. What blessedly delicious food on this trip!

Our final full day in the city involved A LOT of hot and sweaty walking. We toured Manhattan and China Town, ate at some famous cafes such as By Chloe and, my very favourite, OatMeals (I got the ELVIS– oatmeal with bacon, peanut butter, and banana, YUM), and a stop outside Kleinfield’s.


And that evening was WICKED. My favourite part of the trip ended up being this incredible Broadway show, in which the main character was nothing but a Christ-figure and the talent in singing, acting, and dancing was altogether mind-blowing. We were all mesmerized!

Complete with musical road tripping and bonding with my sisters and parents, this trip was a blessing and a lesson. And just like always, ONLY ONE THING WAS NEEDED– and it was the position at Jesus’ feet. He provided joy, opportunities, and love, and I trust in Him alone.




UPDATE: From-Scratch Chicken Soup, Favourite Summer Trend, & The Lord’s Revelation

Hey guys!

As you may have noticed, I took a Spirit-led leave of absence from the blog and am excited to be sitting down to write now. You will discover that the site is different, and, I hope, easier to navigate, though there are still some categories I’m cleaning up.

If you are new to the blog, here it is in a nutshell: because of the Lord Jesus Christ, I am free from years of an eating disorder, and He has laid on my heart a passion for helping to uproot lies the devil would have us believe in this world, particularly to do with food. I know how tricky he can be, and how good he is at disguising himself as the angel, but I now not only know, but because of His Truth and work, live in the fact that my life is His and He is my joy. 

I am passionate about cooking God-created foods that not only fuel, but have one discovering taste buds within their palette they didn’t know existed. Thus, you’ll find some yummy recipes here too.

Today, I’m sharing my recipe for homemade chicken noodle soup.

The secret here is to make the stock from scratch, too, for out of this world flavour.

Chicken Noodle Soup


1 lb chicken, cut up from whole chicken 

1 rib celery

1/4 onion, chopped

1 carrot, roughly chopped

2 cloves garlic

1/2 tsp bay leaves

1 tsp parsley

1 tsp Rosemary

1 tsp thyme

1 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

6 cups water

200g thick noodles


1. Place all ingredients, except noodles, in a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for at least one hour, skimming as necessary. 

2. Cook noodles according to package; drain. Add noodles to soup. Allow to simmer on very low heat for at least an hour. Spoon into bowls to serve, sprinkled with cheese if desired.

In addition to sharing this recipe, I’m excited to share my favourite posh summer style trend: off-shoulder pencil dresses. I am wearing a black floral Le Chateau one to my boyfriend’s brother’s wedding, with a metallic pink nail and curls, and sombred hair. I’ll have an ensemble photo of that outfit to share next week!

And finally, as a closing update, I am sharing something the Lord has been doing to my heart, and that is an increased awareness of the fact that, while He will never depend on me to work and be who He is– that thought is laughable considering His power– for His Son to be revealed and working in my life, I have to be actively repenting, conversing, and seeking Him out. Listening and responding to conviction. When I pray that He leads me to sermon podcasts and the Word rather than procrastination or Netflix, He does– and I never regret it. I am not whatsoever saying Netflix is wrong– just that I am always happier and more joyful about 10 seconds in to a sermon than I am an hour into Netflix. I know HE fulfills my soul, teaches my heart, and tenderly loves me– and requires “true acknowledgement, and not just burnt offerings” (Hosea 2:6).

Sending love and prayers, and be sure to look out for coming regular blog posts. 

UPDATE: Boston, Bon Iver, and Breakfast Recipe — Best Weekend Ever!

Hello Friends!

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Johnny and me in Finger Lakes, NY

It has been a while since you’ve heard from me, and for that I apologize– but I have a “travel blog” of sorts for ya, complete with a “road trip recipe” that will be featured in my upcoming cookbook, which, as I previously announced, will be available September 1st, 2017, in both print and ebook format. I could not be more excited to be sharing some of my favourite recipes with you, as well as some new ones that I’m working hard on.

When Johnny came back from Winnipeg this past April, he told me that we were road tripping to Boston for Boston Calling, a concert event featuring some of his favourite artists– Bon Iver, Chance the Rapper, Francis and the Lights, Whitney, and more– that I now love, too.

And since then, time has simply sped, as I’ve expected, and before we both knew it, the concert time arrived.

Preparing for our first road trip together was so much fun, and God used our time to integrate as a team. I am closer to Johnny romantically, spiritually, and as my best friend, than ever.

Wednesday night, I was blessed to stay at my soon-to-be roomie’s family’s house in Port Elgin, right near Niagara Falls. Autumn and I bonded more than we’ve been able to up to this point, and she gave me a tour of her town, including the bakery her mom owns that she currently works at, which I fell completely in love with. We went to the beach, which began the series of completely breathtaking sights I would be blessed to witness over the coming days.

Delicious meal of the weekend NUMBA ONE: Autumn and I fixed salads with fresh berries, homemade balsamic dressing, rye toast (which I added peanut butter and cucumber to– of course), amazing medium rare pork tenderloin, and hummus)
Autumn and me at the beach near her place in Port Elgin

Johnny picked me up from Autumn’s the next morning, and thus began our adventure together. Opening with prayer, we headed to the US border, crossed through, and Johnny patiently drove us to Finger Lakes, NY, where we couldn’t have prepared ourselves for the beauty we would behold.

The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” ZEPHANIAH 3:17


Each sight more breathtaking than the last


Because of all our stopping and photo taking and MARVELLING, the hike took us just under two hours, and was one of the absolute highlights of our weekend. We ran into so many sweet folks, took in the endless sights, and could not stop talking about the glory and power of our God. I highly recommend this hike!

We ate sandwiches in the car before hitting the road again– I also hacked into my stash of my homemade chocolate peanut butter balls.

I am sharing this recipe as an awesome road trip snack for nut lovers like myself! With no baking required and just about 5 minutes of prep time– plus some time in the freezer to set– these are the perfect road trip accompaniment– filling and healthy, micro-nutrient packed deliciousness!

I could always go for dessert, and, if you know me, you know I put peanut butter on everything– and I do mean everything. These are certainly a “Cassie” road trip snack rather than a Johnny one, who doesn’t have a sweet tooth and stuck mostly to Ketchup chips and Welches’ fruit snacks (“Welch me” he said to me when he got hungry).

Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls


1/2 c raspberries
1/4 c cocoa
1/4 c coconut oil
1/2 c peanut butter
1/4 tsp salt
1 c sesame seeds
1 c sweet and salty nut mix


1. In small saucepan, over medium heat, combine raspberries, cocoa, and coconut oil. Stir until smooth. Bring mixture to a boil; stir one minute. Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter and salt.
2. Add seeds and nuts and stir well, ensuring all nuts are coated in the cocoa mixture.
3. On a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, drop “dough” in balls, shaping as desired. Keep refrigerated until eating; enjoy!

The rest of the ride proved to be smooth and fun. Johnny had made a playlist featuring 167 songs by the artists we would be seeing the next day at the music festival, which we listened to while talking and laughing about all sorts of things.

We stopped in a town called Framingham to avoid traffic about an hour and a half away from Boston, at a diner called “Deluxe Depot Diner.” I was overly excited– just ask Johnny– when I discovered that the menu featured all day breakfast! And not only that– but dairy-free pancakes. I got two huge blueberry ones with maple syrup, and a fried egg and bacon on the side, and Johnny got a Reuben and fries. It was exactly what I needed!

It was a smooth drive to Johnny’s cousins’ place from Framingham, praise and thanks be to the Lord! And we were both stunned when the 167 songs– that we’d started when we left– finished precisely as we were pulling up to the house where Johnny’s cousins had just moved in to.

Spending the weekend with Dan, Johnny’s cousin, and his wife Hannah, was such an immense blessing and this trip would not have happened without them and their selfless, beautiful hearts for the Lord. They completely opened their home to us and welcomed us in so warmly.

After some chatting time with them, though, it was off to bed for Johnny and, gearing up for the concert the next day.

We made a Starbucks stop for breakfast and coffee on the way to the train station, where we caught an underground train to Harvard University! After touring the area a little bit, we settled on Chipotle for lunch, as it’s an American-only restaurant and we’ve both been curious about its hype. The verdict? It lived up for both of us– best guac I’ve ever had!


Next stop? Touring Harvard before the festival. We had so much fun and laughs, and seeing the famous university was an unexpected and somewhat surreal part of our trip.


We got to the festival gates about a half hour early, and as soon as the festival started, everything flew right by. The band Vundabar was first, and they were great, but only the beginning. The next highlight was Whitney, a band Johnny showed me last year whose music I adore, and whose performance we both enjoyed so much!

After Whitney was Francis and the Lights, a music producer who was also great to watch.

Carseat Headrest was next, one of Johnny’s current very favourites, and a band whose work has definitely grown on me!

We had a quick bite at a delicious hot dog vendor in the festival before catching a few songs by Mac DeMarco, and then heading over to Bon Iver’s stage, which we got to over an hour early, and still had quite a crowd to push through. We ended up quite close to the stage, and waited patiently for Justin Vernon, the genius behind Bon Iver to come onstage.

And he blew us away. This was the highlight of the whole weekend, and a large part of that for me was just seeing Johnny, being next to him watching the artist that he was so passionate about because of the artist’s convictions and storytelling that glorify and testify to Jesus Christ.

And once I knew I was not magnificent. –Justin Vernon

We didn’t have much time to really digest the beauty that was Bon Iver’s performance– the best live performance I’ve ever witnessed– because Chance the Rapper, the closing act, followed quickly. It had miraculously and beautifully began pouring during Bon Iver’s performance, and the walk through the field was MUDDY– but Johnny and it trekked it out and found ourselves near the back for Chance, which suited us just fine! We danced and enjoyed every moment of Chance’s energetic, TALENTED performance– despite being quite exhausted!

We made the trek back to the train station, took a packed train back to the car, and my wonderfully patient boyfriend drove us back to our three-day Boston home at Dan and Hannah’s for a sound sleep.

The next day was a peaceful blessing of time with Dan and Hannah and time for Johnny and I. As this trip featured the best live concert I’ve ever experienced at Bon Iver, it also featured the best pasta I have ever eaten, at an adorable place called Daniella’s Cafe– a restaurant we chose because my beautiful best friend is named Daniella. Thanks, Dani– we will never forget this pasta and delicious bread!


We also got to go to a beautiful beach with Dan called Singing Beach, because the sand makes a singing noise when you pad along it– twas truly breathtaking!


Dinner that night was in response to Johnny, Dan, and Hannah all saying to me, “What, you’ve never had Chick-Fil-A?” Johnny was disappointed to discover that there was dairy– which I’m allergic to– in the chicken’s breading, so I had to try the grilled chicken– which was quite good, still, in addition to waffle fries. Praising the Lord for such thoughtless freedom and simply time with my brothers and sisters in Him.

Our drive home Sunday morning was accompanied by a wonderful sermon and worship music and amazing conversation as always, Johnny’s patience, drive, and grace continuing to impress me always. I am endlessly blessed by this amazing man, and so excited and affirmed in where God is leading us for His glory.



UPDATE: Unprecedented Sickness; Our God Is In Control

It is has been several days since I have sat down to write, or done much of anything! So this, right now, is hitting as such a blessing.

Giving up routine and stringency in order that I might be more aware of God’s voice over my future– and much more importantly, engaged with Him in the present— is something that I was convicted of last week, and so it has been a week since I’ve been in this. One of the things He’s shown me is that there existed an external condemnation over me that was angered when certain things, ie. on-time blog posts, were not done. I adore this blog. I spend intimate moments with the Lord when I write. And I also do treat it like a job, and take pride in the maintenance of its professionalism. But there is certainly no condemnation, no “failing” if I’m unable, or moreover, not CALLED to write on a particular day. This isn’t to do with my own well-being so much as it is with God’s Word being all that is articulated and glorified in this practice. Which, pertaining to my true self in Christ, is the pertinent “well-being” of “myself.”

This past Sunday I woke up with my head on fire and my throat burning, too. I made tea and ate a bit, but my stomach wouldn’t take any of that either. I was supposed to be going to a church called Uptown Community, that I’d been to once or twice with Johnny, with Jacqueline, but I waffled with the idea as I felt so sick. After some prayers, I decided to go, and I was grateful and blessed that I did.

Pastor Raja’s sermon spoke volumes to my heart. It was on prayer. 

“Trying to do the Lord’s work in your own strength is the most tedious, exhausting, and confusing of all work. But when you are filled with the Holy Spirit, then the ministry of Jesus just flows out of you… is prayer your steering wheel, or your spare tire?” CORRIE TEN BOOM

“I believe in Christ like I believe in the sun; not because I can see it, but because by it I see everything else.” CS LEWIS

“The man who has God for his treasure has all things in one… It is my very strong conviction that I cannot preach to someone I haven’t prayed for.” AW TOZER

When I got back home from church, I was struck with annoyance by how un-hungry my stomach felt on top of the migraine and throat pain and coughing. After Maddie and I caught up, I told her how sick I felt, that I had no appetite, and she said that was common for sickness.

I had, before acknowledging my freedom, been so out of touch with my body that I didn’t know what appetite, or lack of it, felt like. But without voices dictating what I should or should not eat, I quite simply know.

I made chicken soup and ate bread and Maddie and I watched a few episodes of some shows and I could not focus. I slept for many hours and when I woke up my head was worse than ever.

After praying and repenting, I did the only logical thing.

I called my mom.

My mom is so caring, and she lives to help others. She wanted to come pick me up but I told her no, I’d be fine. I took her advice with some different remedies, and after a few hours, when nothing was going away, I called again.

“Ok, Mom. If you really don’t mind, I’d love your help right now.”

She was over really quickly, and she took me home. I spent the next couple days throwing up and napping, whooooo. The kind of unproductive environment that really stresses me out. I couldn’t focus at all on reading or school work or even talking… but I could pray. Always can pray.

So the past few days have been such a blessing.

Praying for others’ situations and souls has been another conviction on my heart, and of course, if prayer is my STEERING WHEEL, by the power of the Holy Spirit, I will be. Praying for others. He has humbled me in the midst of this illness to show me that He is in control. 

I could have planned every minute of every day this week, but studying and coffee plans and even work didn’t happen.

Essentially, any time we spend planning every minute of the future, our Lord Jesus can say “Yep, that is what you’re going to do on that day at that time,” or, “No, that’s not how it’s going to work out.” Being organized and productive for His sake and by His Spirit is very different, He’s shown me, than trying to take human control of a very human agenda.

My gracious momma took me to the doctor yesterday, where he found the physical root of this sickness and set me on the physical path to mending.

Today I woke up feeling better for the first time than worse, and ready to blog. Not stressed about the school I’ve missed, but rather full of trust.

Oh Jesus, how you teach us and are faithful in EVERYTHING.

  Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee. Then shall the earth yield her increase; and God, even our own God, shall bless us. PSALM 67:5-6

Remembering that the COUNTERFEIT to righteousness is anything that promises peace outside of Jesus Christ— one of the lies in me had been my feeling “fit” by how closely and “perfectly” I could stick to a plan.

Which might involve me missing an opportunity to meet someone new that God is calling me to minister to.

Or blocking out His voice.

Or refusing spontaneity that to my God is not spontaneous at all.

It is not surprising that the media is full of agendas and planners and calendars that attract many of us. For our God is one who “Knows the plans He has for us,” who has always called us by name, who loved us before we existed on Earth. As we are created in His image, when we don’t have intimate relationship with Him, our souls seek who HE is within what we can see in the world. Comfort in “a plan.”

My “Comfort” is in JESUS CHRIST alone. HIS PLANS alone. This is freeing beyond measure.

And, just as when He instructed me so lovingly that food rules were not a part of His Spirit, whence I heard His voice on this matter of strict planning, He has only revealed to me the worthier cause, and the freer life equipped to serve Him with JOY.


UPDATE: Second Home


I apologize for being MIA for a few days– I’ve just been at my favourite place in the world. And no, it’s not Nashville, though Nashville is a close second.


My cottage is a five hour drive north from my house, which of course felt like a walk in the park after fifteen hours of Nashville trekking! However my family always makes it fun. We take turns “DJing” and play games. We joked and laughed about how we’re a bit like the crazy family in We’re the Millers.
The cottage has been amazing and rejuvenating, although it is a place where I find I struggle with food. My grandparents both have sort of disordered relationships with food, and I love them to the moon and back, but it certainly can be triggering. I spent a lot of time crying, talking to my mom, feeling down about my recovered body. But she, and the cottage, had a lot of insight for me.
I breathed, and I took in my surroundings. Our first morning here, I woke up, did some yoga, ate a good breakfast, and went for a swim. Swimming in my favourite lake with the sun dancing and the familiar cottage smell and the trees rustling, I laughed like a mad person all to myself. Because in that beauty and under God’s sky in the place I wish I could stay forever, my horrible, abusive relationship with food felt like the most insignificant thing in the world.
I know I have written about this before, but sometimes that shift in perspective is all we really need. It helps, even, to sit and bring to life a loved one, someone who has supported and cared for you unconditionally, whose principles you aspire to share. Call their love to your mind and you feel more at peace.
I am blessed to say that I call many different people to mind. These two are frequently used.
I am blessed to say that I call many different people to mind. These two are frequently used.
 Memories. Every time we first arrive at the cottage since the last summer, we all agree that the first thing that hits us is the smell. Our front door leads to a little stoop and that leads straight to the kitchen, and immediately there is this nostalgic smell of… cottage. Earth, dirt, birds, I don’t know how else to describe it. If you’ve smelled cottage, you know what I mean. It is my favourite smell in the world. When I brought my bag to my bedroom, though, I was met with sadness. Last year and the year before were extremely difficult summers. Two years ago I was in the clutches of my eating disorder, waking up early to embark on long runs, eating next to nothing. Last year I was well into recovery, but everything triggered me. Any talk about food made me angry, and I dreaded mealtimes. I am really quite sad to say that this trip I’m met with some of the same. But coming into that bedroom and remembering all the tears of the last two years, I also remembered all the happiness. The late night bunk bed boy talk with my sisters; the crafts from years past hung on the walls; the shapes carved into the wood on the ceiling that we have names for. That room, in many ways, shaped my childhood. This is my 18th summer at the cottage, I thought, and I can make it good.
first time feeling every time. I have a bit of an obsession with this statement. And Monday morning, when I woke up, ate breakfast, and dove into the world’s most gorgeous lake, swimming immediately to the very bottom and gliding along with my eyes open, pulling at the sand with my hands, I remembered the first time I had done so. I was seven, and my sisters, friend Lydia, and I were pretending to be mermaids. We used to spend the entire day roping rafts out in the deep area of the lake, pretending to be damsels in distress, bringing sand buckets to shore to collect “food” (sand). Coming up for air, now, ten years later, I could only smile. One day my kids and Lydia’s kids are going to be doing just that, I thought.
No photo does its beauty justice.
No photo does its beauty justice.
Lazy Days. I don’t remember the last time I had a truly lazy day, and that includes up at the cottage. Here, I go for morning swims, write recipes and blogs, read entire books, go for runs and other workouts, hike, etc. Honestly, it is the life.
I don't wear make up or do my hair either.
I don’t wear make up or do my hair either.
Song. somewhere in my car. This was my summer song of last year, and since this post is all about memories, I’m bringing it back.
History. My opa is my favourite person in the entire world. His voice is the most amazing thing you will ever hear, and he is so humble and gracious and wise and compassionate. My oma is also incredible, a typical grandmother times 29474 approximately. Together they make the most wonderful couple, and for the first time this summer, I heard about their love story. It was at summer camp, and My opa says the moment he saw my oma in her red sweater, that was it. He knew he had to have her. They met at 19 and married at 22. There is a great history of longevity in relationships and romance in my family.
Book. Looking for Alaska; On to the next John Green book! I finished, and personally thought it was wonderful, but my least favourite of his so far. I’ll probably do a post reviewing all John Green’s books when I read Will Grayson, Will Grayson!
As far as what I’ve eaten lately, I haven’t taken too many photos! But I’ve eaten a lot of my usual: dark chocolate, bananas, oatmeal, peanut butter. I could live on these four items absolutely.
My idea of food porn.
My idea of food porn.
And ah, while we’re updating, I thought I’d rant about something that’s been on my mind lately as well, and that’s the need to be seen. 
We’ve all felt it, I think. Going out somewhere, not necessarily wanting to go, just so others see you, think something about you. I’ve caught myself in that act once or twice, but honestly, it is not something I’ve personally struggled with. I notice it constantly, though. And my thoughts? Live your life. Let other people live theirs, but help them! Always be willing to take risks and be spontaneous, because that’s when this beautiful thing called life happens. But stop worrying about what others think. They’re too busy worrying about themselves.