Sunday, December 11, 2016

The Inner Views of Carole West

"And having food and raiment let us be therewith content."
I Timothy 6:8

I love to read the life stories and testimonies of people who are as passionate about minimalism and simplicity as I am.
So, when I recently "met" the sweet lady online who is being interviewed today and I read a part of her story on her blog, I instantly knew I surely wanted to hear and know more!
I was so thrilled when she agreed to share with us here, and it is with great joy that I introduce her to you today.

Wife, Author, Freelance Writer, Simplified Gardener, and Entrepreneur,
Carole West.

Cheryl:  Please tell us a bit about yourself. 

Carole:  I’m a wife, author, freelance writer, simplified gardener, farmer, and entrepreneur who enjoys life in the country. My husband and I own and operate a small farm in North Texas, and we recently purchased 28 acres where we’ll be moving to establish a tiny house homestead community.  I grew up in Washington State, a small town in Skagit County. My Dad was a fisherman; our lifestyle presented self reliance opportunity. I was the youngest of four children and spent a lot of time at my Grandma’s home where I learned the value of doing more. These lessons were of great value through my life especially while raising our family. I was a stay at home mom for 20 years and discovered early on that everything begins at home. My husband and I are now empty nesters and we’re preparing for a new adventure establishing a Tiny House Community. We’ve already purchased the land and we’re waiting to sell our existing farm before moving full steam ahead. We’re setting up this community for others to experience country living as we have.

Cheryl:  We would love to hear about your Christian testimony. How long have you been a Christian? What led you to become a follower of Jesus Christ? 

Carole:  I remember as a child sitting in the back row during church services thinking to myself there was a much bigger picture to faith than sitting on a wooden bench and looking pretty. I’ve been a Christian as long as I can remember. There was never a real defining moment like others share. I’ve always felt God’s presence in my heart and knew the connection was real. I prayed every day and still do and find comfort and understanding in all Scripture. Since moving to the countryside, His connection to my soul has become even stronger. Christ is the greatest gift we can receive, and my faith walk is more of a lifestyle that grows with every breath and step I take.

Cheryl:  Can you tell us about your blog, "Garden Up Green"? What inspired you to begin blogging? How did you come up with the name? What is your blog's main mission? 

Carole:  Garden Up Green was an answer to prayer. I love to write. I homeschooled the kids, and that time was coming to a close. I knew God had a new journey waiting, I just didn’t know what it was. I had blogged in the past for fun, loved the process and decided it was time for a niche blog that would help others. Through prayer, years at my grandma’s house learning, and my husband’s support, Garden Up Green was born. The name Garden Up – is about everything that grows up including our soul. Through difficult times I remember looking up to find comfort. Green can be applied to many natural ways of living, and I’m amazed at the different shades and how they inspire positive activity. The goal of teaching through inspiration is something I love to share on the blog. I’m a big motivator when it comes to doing more because it’s an amazing way to live.

Cheryl:  Being aspiring minimalists ourselves, we are always so interested in hearing the stories of others who have taken a similar path. When did you and your husband first feel the urge to downsize? What life event(s) sparked an interest in you to begin letting go of things?

Carole:  We’ve moved quite a bit over the years; with each move we were floored with the stuff that followed. After raising our family, my husband and I started making plans for our future; our focus was to downsize and have more time together. We began figuring out what that would take, and from there a plan was established. 

I didn’t want to get rid of everything, but there was a lot that needed to go. To make cleaning out less difficult I decided to create a limit on how many favorite things we would keep. Over time, that limit began to shrink because I found the more we cleaned out the less we really needed or wanted. My time now is treasured through interaction.

Cheryl:  Please share with us about your minimizing journey. What have you already accomplished? What do you yet hope to do? 

Carole:  I mentioned we moved a lot, so during the time we raised our family, I was always getting rid of things. Nothing huge, just items here and there. When we decided to seriously clean out, I went through each room removing the small things first, in preparation of not just downsizing, but selling the farm where we finished raising our family. It was emotional and there were some days when I didn’t want to walk in certain rooms. So I didn’t, but over the course of several months I pushed through so we could get our farm up for sale. This was a huge accomplishment, and it felt great. The next push will be when there’s a firm offer and things like unnecessary furniture will be moved on. We will walk away with very few personal belongings, and I can hardly wait. We leave with so much more, souls that have been matured and redefined.

Cheryl:  Describe what "tiny living" means to you. Will you eventually live in what is considered a tiny house? 

Carole:  For me Tiny house living is getting back to basics and living a less complicated lifestyle. Eventually we will live in a 399 sq foot tiny home. Before that, we plan to live in our 23 ft RV Trailer for a year. This decision was set in motion to help us stay focused when we’re living on this new property transforming 28 acres into 14 Tiny House properties. It’s a huge undertaking, and we realized we don’t need the distraction of a home. . I’m thinking when we finally move from the 23 ft trailer into the tiny home it will feel like a mini mansion.

Cheryl:  As you work through the process of downsizing, what are the main lessons you have learned/are learning? What advice would you offer someone who realizes they have way too much excess, but who doesn't know where to begin to minimize?

Carole:  First, watch an episode of Little House on the Prairie. The happiest people in that show were the ones that had less, why? They had faith, one another, and real life experiences. I realize it’s a TV show but it was based on real life experiences that people continue to read, watch, and be inspired by even today. It shows you that life is full of twists and turns, and stuff doesn’t make you happy.

If you’re bombarded and not sure where to begin downsizing, my best advice would be to begin with your bedroom closet and realize you’ll probably clean it out 2 or 3 times before you’re happy with it. The closet is where we begin our day. I began removing things I hadn’t worn in over a year, this included shoes. Once I had my closet cleaned out, my day began with a clear head which made the rest of the home a breeze to clean out. I went through the house room by room, set a goal and stuck with it even if it was just for an hour or two, 5 days a week. 

If you walk into a room and instantly see things you know you don’t want, then remove them right away. The quicker you can get rid of something, the more room you’ll have to sort other items and see progress. The problem with having so much, is it clouds our thinking. Once we remove as much as we can in the beginning it’s easier to make decisions later on.

The other big thing is to stop bringing stuff back into the home. When I make new purchases I really have to think it over and make sure it’s adding value instead of taking away from our goals. About 80% of the time that new “Thing” never comes home because it’s more of a want than a need. 

Cheryl:  As a disciple of Jesus Christ, I find it so interesting to know that He lived a life that was very unattached to the things of this world and very eternity-focused. How does living minimal align itself with the mission of Jesus on this earth? 

Carole:  It aligns perfectly. It’s also important to understand its okay to have things.  It’s when our stuff becomes excessive and controlling when it becomes a problem. An example...instead of buying a card that says I love you, why not just share that message in person and spend time with each other. In the long run that time together will live on where the card will just get tossed aside.

Cheryl:  What are some of the most creative ways you have found to dispose of excess items?

Carole:  I wish I could say I was creative getting rid of stuff, but what I did was use Craigslist to remove a lot of things. A second hand store where we live also received most of it, and let me add, it felt good to give it away. I also passed things off to friends who I thought may have a need for some of it. I like to give to families who are trying because I understand how difficult it can be to raise a family on one income.

Cheryl:  Through this downsizing process, what has been most fulfilling to you? 

Carole:  Most fulfilling is leaving the farm with a loaded car and unloading it to give away. As I drive on, my heart feels free and good inside. I’m reminded that from this day forward my life will not be controlled by earthly things.

Cheryl:  If you could start over on your minimizing journey, what would you change about it? Are there things you wish you had done differently? 

Carole:  I wouldn’t change anything because our future plans have been the driving force. I really want to live simpler with less so we can have more time enjoying the blessings around us.

Cheryl:  Has there ever been a time that you have regretted letting go of something in particular? If so, what was it? 

Carole:  I think there actually have been a few regrets, but I can’t think of anything specific. I remember one time looking for something only to remember I got rid of it. So I got creative and came up with another idea.

Cheryl:  Please share with us about your farm. What is your favorite part of farm life?

Carole:  I love farm life. It has inspired me in so many ways. We purchased this farm 7 years ago after years of city/suburb living. The goal was to finish raising our family in the countryside, and God made that happen. I have such a greater appreciation for the land and how to care for it than I ever thought possible. We’ve done so much from raising small cattle, sheep, llamas, chickens, emus, and of course, my quail. Out of everything, I believe the quail have been my absolute favorite. Even greater than the quail would be those moments when God’s presence is revealed while I’m in the garden. I never feel alone in that space, and it’s simply the best feeling in the world. Living here has been a life changing experience.

Cheryl:  Can you share with us about your book? How can we order it? 

Carole:  My book "Quail - Getting Started"was written for beginners who want to raise quail in a natural environment. It’s the basics and everything you need to know to establish a healthy flock. It can be purchased on my blog or on Amazon. I have a new book coming out, and I’m super excited about it. "Startle Garden" will also be available in February, 2017 on my blog and Amazon. If you visit my blog just click, “My Books”, on the Tabs bar.

Cheryl:  What are the causes closest to your heart? 

Carole:  I don’t have a specific cause; my focus is to set a positive example and stand up for what’s right. I believe giving should come from the heart and not defined as a percentage mark. I’m one of the most flawed people around. Each day I try to do better because I never know what God may call me to do next.

Cheryl:  We are living in troubled times. What are your favorite Scriptures, songs, books, and other resources to turn to in moments of spiritual discouragement? 

Carole:  We do live in troubled and confusing times. I think we always have, we just seem to notice them more. I try to stay off social media as much as possible because it’s this constant reminder of how disconnected society has become. To rise above, I enjoy the simplicity of all Scripture, I just open the Book and begin reading. I let God speak to my heart, and I find great comfort in His Word. I read all types of books and listen to audio that embraces positive thinking; John C Maxwell is a favorite author. Music is also helpful; I prefer country because it tells a story of someone’s journey. With that being said, I also enjoy listening to soft piano music by David Lanz. Return to the Heart - should really be my theme song.

If video doesn't load, click here.

There are days though when I find extreme comfort in God’s Creations.  Shades of green have always fascinated me, and I find such elegance in the beauty of a simple garden rose. When I watch my quail, I discover how delicate life is, and many times, it’s those long conversations with my husband or special friends that bring me even more joy. My favorite Scripture is Galatians 5:22...The fruit of the spirit...It represents living a full life.

Cheryl:  How can we pray for you? 

Carole:  We should pray for God to work in the hearts and minds of all human kind, especially those who don’t know Him yet. Pray that God continues to use me for His work and never my own because this life isn’t about me, it’s all about His love and continued forgiveness -Pray that I never forget to live each day for the kingdom.  Thank you for this opportunity to share my heart. Carole West

A big thank you to you, Carole, for sharing your heart and story with us here!
What a blessing to read of the amazing way God is leading and directing your life!

Let's keep Carole and her prayer requests in our prayers, dear readers, and I hope you will take the time to go by and visit her blog and consider subscribing.

Thank you ever so much for reading and for your support and encouragement.
God bless Carole and each one of you, too!

To read previous
click the links below.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

The Inner Views of Lovelle Gerth-Myers

"...weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning."
Psalm 30:5

I first "met" the sweet young lady being interviewed today through her mother, Holley Gerth's blog,
where I am a follower and have been a sporadic link-up participant for the past few years.
The first time I remember clicking over to her blog, I read this post and watched the accompanying video, which I am including towards the end of this post.
I will never forget how much her words ministered to me that day,
in light of some circumstances my family and I were walking through. 
As I became acquainted with her story, my heart went out to her so much.
I was just floored, as I read of how God has redeemed her pain and brought her out of the hurts of her past, leading her to a place of peace and happiness and fulfillment in Him.
I am so blessed and grateful to be able to introduce her and her amazing story to you today, 
and it is my prayer that you will find hope for your own situation as you read how God has worked in and through her life.

Speaker, Writer, Life Coach, Encourager,
Lovelle Gerth-Myers.

Cheryl:  Please introduce yourself to us. 

Lovelle:  I love to write, speak, and encourage people. I have seen God do amazing things in the most impossible circumstances. I am passionate about helping others deepen their relationship with the Lord by using my story to help people truly see that we serve a limitless God. I live with my husband David, my dog, Buford, and my parents Holley and Mark Gerth in the South. I love teenagers, especially the ones that are rough around the edges. My background gives me the ability to help them in tremendous ways. I am passionate about mentoring our youth. We can’t expect the next generation to be a good one if we don’t guide and direct them. I also love coffee, carbs, running, and the great outdoors.

Cheryl:  What was life like for you growing up?

Lovelle:  Well, horrible. I don’t remember much of it. I was in the California foster care system from ages 4-8. I had a few good years with my grandmother, but when my grandfather died, I moved in with my abusive mother and step-dad. I was physically, emotionally, verbally, and sexually abused from the ages of 12-17. I moved out at the age of 17 to escape it.

Cheryl:  Can you tell us about your earliest recollection of hearing about Jesus? What about Him most stirred your heart and drew you to Him? When did you become a Christian?

Lovelle:  My first recollection of hearing about Jesus was definitely with my grandma. The short 3 years I had with her really did get me through the next 5 years of abuse. I learned the foundations about Jesus but didn’t follow Him. Honestly, I hated God for letting my parents do all the horrible things they did to me when I was a teenager. I accepted God into my heart at the age of 17 when I was homeless. When I moved out of my home I didn’t have anyone but my grandma, so I went to church with her to spend time with her. Every time I walked through the church doors I felt the Lord poke at my heart. Even though I hated Him for everything, He still stirred at my heart. I had tried so hard to control my surroundings because of my past, but on that cold winter evening, when I had literally nothing, I let Him take control, and it’s been the best adventure ever since.

Cheryl:  Looking back over your life, so far, what would you define as your darkest moment? How did you make it through?

Lovelle:  To be honest, I feel like my whole entire childhood was dark. I have a lot of horrible memories that I will never be able to forget. How I made it through? I am not sure. The only thing I can think of is that God had His hand on me. When I started following Christ I held on to Him. I literally had no one. I prayed a lot and held onto his promise that everything was going to be okay. It took a long time but God fulfilled his promise to me. I have amazing adoptive parents, a husband, family that loves me extremely well, and healing. God gave me a purpose. I can honestly say, I wouldn’t change anything because I have had to lean on God in a way not a lot of people have ever had to experience. I’ve seen him provide gas money when my tank was on E. I’ve seen him provide a home when I was homeless (twice). He provides, and hardships built my faith and endurance.

Cheryl:  We would love to hear about what happened on August 28, 2014. How has life changed for you since this monumental event? How did your life intersect with the lives of Mark and Holley? What events led up to your adoption?

Lovelle:  On August 28th 2014, I became a wanted daughter to an AMAZING couple named Mark and Holley Gerth at the age of 21. Life has changed a lot. I have had to learn how to interact with families. I never really knew how to do that because I didn’t grow up with a family that interacted. As bad as this sounds, I have had to be less selfish. When you only have yourself, you don’t really have to think to ask someone to do something or to call other people. You just get used to being alone. I’ve healed so much because I have an amazing support group that love me through my pain. The abuse caused attachment and trust issues. I don’t really know how to let people in. My heart is like an onion. Slowly those layers are opening up and my amazing family is letting me take my time. I met Mark and Holley at a transitional facility I was living at called Saving Grace. My mom volunteered there, and we met and just clicked. The more we hung out, the more we got closer. Mom and dad waited 10 years to adopt a 21-year-old, and God told them it was me. I am the luckiest girl in the world.

Holley, Lovelle, and Mark Gerth

Cheryl:  What does Ephesians 3:20 mean to you?

Lovelle:  God can do more than anything that we could ever come up with. His plans are great. We may not see it, but it’s true. He never fails, and is always faithful.

Cheryl:  Will you share with us about your love story? How were you and your husband introduced? When did you hear God whisper that he was the one for you?

Lovelle:  Ready for the cheesiest story ever? My husband and I met because of a forced blind date. I wanted nothing to do with it. Our mutual friend wouldn’t leave me alone, so I agreed to go on a chaperoned meeting IF he was interviewed by a couple of my friends and passed. I wasn’t present at the interview either, and he passed. I gave him my number after our chaperoned meeting and told him that until he knew if I was the person God had for him then we couldn’t really be in a relationship or anything. I told him to pray about it. We both prayed about it and started Courting. Within 4 months we had a wedding date. I think we knew we were going to be married within a month and a half. We didn’t hang out alone for over a month. Didn’t hold hands until almost 2 months and didn’t kiss until around 4 months into our courtship. David had never kissed anyone or even held hands. I was his first girlfriend. Through him the Lord has really showed me what freedom means. I am not defined by my past or the things that were done to me. Even though I am still going through healing because of my past, I am not damaged goods. I do deserve a good husband and Godly man. I may be biased, but I tend to think I hit the jackpot. ;-)

Lovelle & David on their happy wedding day!

Cheryl:  What part of marriage do you love the most?

Lovelle:  I can’t really think of one thing in particular, so here are some things I love about my husband…. I love how patient and tender my husband is. I love having someone by my side and not feeling alone anymore. I love having someone who takes such good care of me and loves me so well. Someone who holds me accountable and leads me spiritually. Wounds heal when people love you extremely well. My husband has done such an amazing job at that within the last 2 years.

David & Lovelle

Cheryl:  Of all of the hurts you have suffered throughout life, which would you say has been the hardest to forgive? Why? How has God given you victory in this situation?

Lovelle:  Definitely the sexual abuse… My husband has been super patient, but it has definitely been hard in marriage. It’s affected how I think about life and how I let people in. It’s affected my trust level with everyone including my husband. It makes me so mad sometimes because people are having to pay for what one person did. Still… I believe forgiveness is a daily thing. When you are affected by triggers, sometimes daily, it makes it hard to be okay with what one person did. I have to choose to see them the way Christ sees them. I may not like them sometimes, but I can pray for them and ask God to help me. That’s what I do. Take it one day at a time. I am slowly working towards victory in this situation. My husband and I have been going to counseling (for me) for a couple months and will continue. Just to clarify, we are completely fine. He goes because I am learning to let him in on some of my biggest hurts. I don’t really know how to let people be there for me. When he goes, he is there for me and I am learning to let him be. I am learning a whole new level of intimacy. I’ve gotten a lot better and will continue. The Lord is good. It just takes time.

Cheryl:  To what part of brokenness can you most relate?

Lovelle:  To all of it. I’ve seen a lot of things in my 23 years of life.

Cheryl:  How has God turned your tests into testimonies and allowed you to use painful life experiences to help others?

Lovelle:  My life verse is Philippians 4:12-13. It says, “I have learned the secret to living content in any and every situation. whether its with a full stomach or empty. With plenty or with Little, for I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.

This verse is why I have been able to turn tests into testimonies. I’ve lived in virtually any situation you can imagine, and God has taught me to be content through it all. I’ve learned to see trials as lessons. They teach me what I can do better and have shown me how I can help others. I love working with troubled teens because at one point in time I was one of them. I currently work with teens that struggle with drugs and/or were abused. My past gives me insight that not a lot of people have. It’s been wonderful to see the Lord use the hardest parts of my life for His glory.

Cheryl:  While going through the roughest times, who did God use the most to minister to you? What suggestions can you offer to those who want to reach out to others who are hurting? What specific actions of others have been most effective in helping you to heal?

Lovelle:  When you are struggling I don’t think there is ever only one person. You learn to embrace the good because it doesn’t happen very often. He’s used teachers, my grandmother, and a lot of random kind people to encourage me. My suggestion would be to keep your eyes and ears open. Every second we have on this earth is a second we could be using to minister to someone. Listen to God’s voice, and He will lead you to people He wants you to help. A lot of people hurt and may not say anything. God has insight we don’t have and if you ask, He will give it to you. 

Lovelle & Buford

Cheryl:  What would you say to the person reading this who feels unloved, rejected, abandoned, or hopeless?

Lovelle:  People will fail you. That’s a guarantee, but God won’t. God created you and knows you better than you know yourself. He knows your past, and He knows your future. He loves and embraces all of that. You are worthy, and you are loved more than you can possibly imagine. Trust in the person who created the heavens and the earth because He’s got a plan, and it will come to pass. He wastes nothing. It’s our darkest moments that God can use the most.

Cheryl:  How difficult is it to receive or feel worthy of being so abundantly loved after living through the pangs of hurt and abuse? How can we, as the body of Christ, penetrate and break through the barriers and walls of those who have have been deeply wounded and are afraid to trust again?

Lovelle:  Extremely difficult. I don’t know how to let people love me or be there for me. I’m getting better, but it’s still hard. The best way to help is to walk out God’s love and have no expectations. I’ve been hurt by a lot of Christians who have expectations in me that I just didn’t meet. I couldn’t open up or trust in the time they wanted, so they left, and my walls got higher. Love like God does. Let Him do the work. If you just walk it out, and trust that He is working in the hearts of the (ones who are) hurt, then it will save you and the person who is trying to learn to trust a lot of heartache. Remember, it’s not your job to save someone. It’s God's. It’s our job to lead by example, and God loves people right where they are at. It’s a process.


Cheryl:  Please share with us about your work. What about it most fulfills the passions of your heart?

Lovelle:  I work with teenagers who have drug issues and some have a background of abuse. Almost all of them have pretty bad home lives. My passion is to use my past for God’s good. I am doing that, and I am so grateful God is allowing me to do that.

Cheryl:  We are living in such discouraging times. How do you remain hopeful and encouraged in your walk with the Lord? What are some of your favorite Bible verses, hymns/music, books, and other resources that you turn to and use on a regular basis?

Lovelle:  My favorite bible verse is Philippians 4:12-13 and Hebrews 12:1. I love the First5 App by Proverbs 31 Ministries. I am a firm believer in reading your Bible. I have a journal, and I write letters to God. I try to do it every day, but sometimes I don’t. Any books by my Mom, Holley Gerth are amazing. I listen to Christian music. I currently have the Planet Shakers Outback Worship Session CD on repeat in my car. That’s been a huge help.

Cheryl:  How can we pray for you?

Lovelle:  You can pray for direction and for God to open doors. I’ve been going through a depression, and I want to feel better.

Cheryl:  I completely understand, Lovelle, and I will surely be praying for you.  I can't thank you enough for being so willing to be transparent and share your testimony with us here.  I know it will bless and encourage every reader.  May God abundantly bless you, your husband, your parents, and your ministry.  May He enlarge your coasts and expand your opportunities in new and unexpected ways, and may He keep all of you safe in His tender care.

As I read through Lovelle's interview responses, I am reminded of Joseph's words found in 
Genesis 50:20,
"But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive."

God is turning all of Lovelle's pain into good, as she pours hope into the lives and hearts of the young people He brings across her path and allows her to connect with and minister to.
Please add Lovelle and her prayer requests to your regular prayers, dear friends,
and I hope you will stop by her blog and consider becoming a follower/subscriber.

And, now for that promised video.
I can't begin to tell you how much Lovelle's words meant to me when I watched this back in March,
and I hope her words minister to you and your situation today.

If video doesn't load, click here.

And, here is a bonus video in which Lovelle talks about the amazing story of her adoption
and what it means to "wait well" for God's promises.
One of my favorite takeaways from Lovelle's words in the video below is this...
"Our dreams can only go as far as we allow God to take them."
I know this will bless you as you watch and listen!

If video doesn't load, click here.

Thank you again, Lovelle, for sharing with us here.
Your life is truly a shining light of Jesus' love,
and I know God is going to use you and your story of redemption in ways you have not yet imagined!

Thank you, dear readers, for your support, encouragement, and faithfulness to stop by here.
Your visits are so appreciated.
God bless you all!

To read previous
click the links below.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

The Inner Views of Caroline Harries

"And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not."
Galatians 6:9

The sweet lady being interviewed today has become a precious friend to me.
We have never met face to face, but I feel like I have known her for years.
We connected online through our mutual experience with infertility,
(You can read Lisa's Inner Views, by clicking here.)
We have prayed for each other through many battles and struggles,
and she is always there to offer a kind word, compassion, empathy, and most important of all, her prayers, no matter what it is that I am going through and share with her.
Some of you already know her, others of you may be meeting her today for the very first time.
If this is your first encounter, I am so grateful to be a part of introducing you to her 
and her blog, "In Due Time".
I hope you will take the time to visit her and consider becoming a follower/subscriber,
and I am just so grateful to be able to share her testimony with all of you today.

With gratitude and joy, I bring to you the 
Jesus Follower, Texan, Blogger, Financial Analyst, Author of "In Due Time" Devotional,
Believing {4.5 Years} for Miracle Babies, Fitness + Travel Enthusiast,
Caroline Harries.

Cheryl:  Could you give us an introduction as to who you are? 

Caroline:  Hi, My name is Caroline. I grew up in Oklahoma with two old brothers, but my parents moved to Texas when I was in high school. I went to Baylor University and graduated with my degree in Finance and Marketing and now live in Texas with my husband. I work as a financial analyst and have been at my company for 10 years. When my husband and I aren't working we love to travel the world. I also love to work out and compete in races including half-marathons and triathlons.

Cheryl:  I would love to hear your Christian testimony. When did you become a Christian? Were you raised in a Christian home? What life events led to your decision to follow Jesus? How has that choice affected your life?

Caroline:  I was not raised in a Christian home. In middle school our neighbors invited me to church, which is when I became a Christian. For years I went to youth group and Sunday services with them, and then when I could drive I went on my own. My faith has always been a huge part of my life.

Cheryl:  How did you meet your husband, and when did you know he was God’s choice for you? How long have you been married?

Caroline:  We met at our church. He was working for a ministry and during our young adults meeting he asked for help with an event that was coming up. I thought he was cute and I signed up to help bake. :) 11 months later and we were engaged, and 5 months later, in April 2011 we were married. I think I knew within the first few weeks that I would marry him. We have been married 5.5 years now!

Cheryl:  Please share with us about your infertility journey.

Caroline:  Pretty soon after getting married, my husband and I decided we were ready to have kids. Because of prior health history we both did baseline tests right away. It was at that time that doctors told us it would be impossible to have kids. We met with a specialist who gave us the slim chances and very little options. Even though we were dealing with both male and female factor, we didn't have a peace about pursuing IVF and really felt called to wait on the Lord. Soon after the diagnosis, my husband moved to Georgia for 6 months for work. When he came back we pursued a healthy lifestyle in terms of eating and supplements. It's now been 4.5 years and we are still waiting and believing for a miracle and have released all control to God.

Cheryl:  There is a temptation to become bitter when life does not go exactly as we planned or envisioned it. How do you overcome this temptation? Are there moments when you feel like turning away from God, instead of towards Him? What inspires hope within you and keeps your thoughts loving towards God in those moments of questioning why?

Caroline:  Whew. Yes, there have been times where the temptations are so real. There have been days where the darkness has won. But, I always remind myself that God's ways are perfect and there are two options: run towards him or run away. Clearly, running away isn't going to get anywhere so I have chosen to run towards him. I cling to the Word, the prophetic words given to us, dreams, and worship music to help get me through on the hard days.

Cheryl:  Do you feel it is wrong to question God’s will when you have prayed with all your heart for a child of your own, only to continue to seemingly be told “no”?

Caroline:  I don't think His answer is no. I think it is "not yet." We know we will have children, but for us it's a matter of when we will have children. I don't understand everything he is doing, but I do believe that his plans for me are perfect.

Cheryl:  Tell us about “Moms in the Making”. How did it come into existence? When did you feel God leading you to start it, and how has being a part of it shaped your thoughts towards infertility? From its beginning, how many miracles have you witnessed take place?

Caroline:  I started Moms in the Making in June 2013. It had been on my heart for awhile, but took me some time to get started. We originally started with around 10 ladies who were all desiring to be a mom. Some already had kids but were dealing with secondary infertility and some who had recurring miscarriages. We all had different stories, but we came together with the common desire to seek God in our journeys. Now, three years later, all those ladies have gone on to have children. We have had 33 babies that have been conceived and born. God truly has been faithful. There is nothing like having support with those who get it and it's been amazing to celebrate every baby.

Cheryl:  How do you handle being around other women who are able to conceive and have children?

Caroline:  Jesus! Jesus! Jesus! Really though, in my flesh, it's really hard, but Jesus is the one who gives me strength. It's his strength that is perfected in my weakness. It's not always easy, but Jesus helps me every step of the way. There really is no other explanation.

Cheryl:  Please share with us about the times someone has specifically singled you and your husband out and prophesied over you and your situation.

Caroline:  Whew! There have been so many. I have kept track of them all. My husband and I have been called to the front of our church on many occasions. On one Sunday in particular we had a guest speaker who called us up to the front and clearly stated that the power of barrenness would be broken as well as I had a gifting to be a mom and with kids. Yes, the waiting is hard. I love planning and so I have planned and dreamed the perfect timing, on many various occasions, to come up with short with still no positive pregnancy tests. I remind myself that God's word never returns void and what he has spoken he will do. I have prophecy after prophecy to rest in during that wait.

Cheryl:  Can you tell us about your blog and what inspired you to start writing it? How has your blog enriched your life? What would you say is its main focus? What is the story behind the name of your blog?

Caroline:  One week after our diagnosis, we were driving to Austin when I heard the Lord tell me to start a blog. Because I am a financial guru, I chuckled, but that is when the journey of blogging began. It originally started to share scripture and document our fertility journey, but now has expanded into everything from a scripture verse to a recent vacation. In Due Time was not the original title, but in August 2013 I did some rebranding. Colby, my husband, picked the title from several different scripture, but my personal favorite is Galatians 6:9. The biggest blessing out of my blog is getting to "meet" people from all over the world, including both other bloggers and readers too.

Cheryl:  I am so inspired by your determination to encourage others and maintain your faith in the midst of your own struggles. I have found encouragement through your words so many, many times. I especially love your posts on faith and about Abraham and Sarah. Please share some of the thoughts God has given you concerning Abraham and Sarah’s situation and how their miracle has inspired you and how their story continues to give you hope of God sending you a baby of your own.
Caroline:  I cling to their story. God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow and what He did for Sarah, He will do for me. Of course I hope I don't have to wait that long, but there is so many powerful scriptures in Romans 4 that have helped me. Their testimony is so powerful and brings me hope.

Cheryl:  Can you tell us about your “blue sock moments”?

Caroline:  My husband and I took a step of faith and started cleaning out our nursery. While I was in there, I found one baby blue sock. It was one sweet way that the Lord has reminded us that he hasn't forgotten us. He has continued to give us blue sock moments throughout our journey. I love encouraging my readers to look for these moments too whether it's something physical, or a sweet whisper from the Lord.

Cheryl:  You and your family experienced one of the most painfully devastating losses. Please share with us about Kai. How has your faith in God carried you through such darkness?

Caroline:  My sweet nephew, Kai. After months of vomiting, my 2 year old nephew was diagnosed with brain cancer. It was found during his MRI and he was admitted immediately to the children's hospital. Two days later he had brain surgery to remove the baseball size tumor. The results came back as ATRT which is a very, very rare cancer that only happens in children 0-3. We only had 15 days after Kai's diagnosis before he went to be with Jesus. To say our family was rocked, is an understatement. Even though it's been 2.5 years, I think we are all still processing. God has definitely carried us through, but it's been a struggle. God, if you are healer, then why didn't you heal Kai? We just keep trusting and believing even though we don't have all the answers. 

Caroline with her nephews, Brecken and Treagan; her nieces, Addison and Maya (holding a picture of her brother, Kai); 
and her nephew, Lincoln

Cheryl:  Which causes, in particular, has Kai’s story inspired you to become involved with? How can we help?

Caroline:  We have been very involved in several races, including Head for the Cure and Brain Power 5K. I have also done some fundraisers for St. Jude. Although he wasn't treated there, we believe in what they do!

Cheryl:  As you have walked through grief recovery and are still walking through the pain of infertility, and even in the trials of every day life, what are your favorite Scriptures, books, and other sources of encouragement? Are there specific songs that have been and are a special blessing to you?

Caroline:  My list here could go on and on. There really is so many. My favorite song right now is "Take Courage" by Kristene DiMarco. I love the Streams in the Desert devotional. All of Romans has helped me so much and really any worship music by Bethel has helped me so much on my journey.

Cheryl:  What have you learned about health, along the way? What changes have you made regarding food choices, exercise, and in other areas?

Caroline:  Health has always been important to me, but over the years I have done more research. I'm a big believer of fixing the problem and not masking the problem with medicine. We eat a healthy diet including grass fed beef, free range chicken and eggs, fish, nuts, beans, fruits and vegetables. We stay away from all things processed including refined sugars and breads. We believe what we put in our body does matter and that what we eat can heal our bodies.

Cheryl:  How long have you been running? Please tell us about the marathons you have participated in and how running has positively influenced your life.

Caroline:  I grew up very active. I played soccer all throughout my life and once I started my career and sat in a chair for 8 hours a day, I started working out every day. I have competed in 5 triathlons, 5 half-marathons, and many smaller distances too. I love being active and I think working out goes hand in hand with eating healthy.

Cheryl:  Please share with us about essential oils. How have they benefited you and your husband? How can we order them?

Caroline:  When I was first told about oils, I was not interested. But once I learned more, attended a class, and did research, I was immediately interested. Oils go back to the Bible days and they can help in all areas including health and emotions. You can use them in so many ways including everything from a headache to cleaning your house to combating stress. You can use this link to order or contact me to learn more.

Cheryl:  If you had the opportunity to meet Jesus face-to-face on earth, in human form, what are three things you would you most like to ask Him?

Caroline:  I would love to know why He makes the decisions He does including the timing of healing (or not healing).

Cheryl:  You have some exciting news concerning a project God has recently helped you to complete. Will you share with us about it? How does it feel to have made such an accomplishment? 

Caroline:  Yes, my big news is I wrote a book! I didn't realize it at the time, but it really has been 4.5 years in the making. The Lord kept nudging me to write it, and I finally got serious about it in the fall of 2015. The book is written for anyone who is going through trials and/or waiting on the Lord {which is everyone, right?} It's formatted as a 60 day devotional and my prayer is that it brings hope and encouragement in the waiting. It's title is "In Due Time", which is also the title of my blog.

Cheryl:  How can we order a copy of your new book?

Caroline:  You can purchase a signed copy here. Please use code "homespundevotions" to get 10% off your order + a free bookmark.

Cheryl:  How can we pray for you?

Caroline:  I would love prayer for my husband and I to conceive a child naturally. I would also love prayer that my book gets in the hands of those who need it.

Cheryl:  Thank you ever so much for your time and willingness to participate in this Inner Views, Caroline.  I am consistently encouraged by your hopeful spirit and never-give-up attitude.  May God bless you and Colby and soon send you the desires of your heart!

It is so hard to understand why loving and devoted couples like Colby and Caroline have not yet been blessed with a baby of their own.
I pray for them often and am standing in faith with them that God will turn their impossibility into a Divine-intervention miracle.

Caroline was kind enough to send me an advance copy of her book
and I have just finished reading it.
It is designed to be read over a span of 60 days, 
but, I tell you the truth, dear friends...
once I got started reading this book, I could not stop.
It is chock-full of encouragement and wisdom that can only be gleaned by actually walking through 
the painful process of waiting upon God.
Here are just a few of my favorite takeaways from the book...
Page 14
"When you can trust God’s character — that He is who He says He is, then you can have faith in His promises — that He will do what He says he will do."
Page 16
"Faith is the currency of heaven and takes you to a very intimate place with your Heavenly Father. When faith is partnered with prayer, it brings blessings down to earth."
Page 32
"It doesn’t matter what problem you are facing, God comforts you in all your affliction. However, He doesn’t want His comfort to stop with you. God desires for you to walk in community, not only with other believers, but also with those people who are in a similar trial as you are. And when you do, you can use the comfort that He has blessed you with to bless others."
Page 34
"In this verse, David encourages believers to wait on the Lord. In fact, he speaks of the promises that the people would inherit not just once, but five times in Psalm 37. He didn’t instruct the people to wait impatiently, with a bad attitude or wrapped in bitterness. Instead, this verse encourages to “keep moving forward steadily in his ways.” Waiting shouldn’t be inactive, but as you wait on God, you should be seeking Him wholeheartedly. You might only take baby steps instead of the giant steps that you desire, but it’s important to make an effort to move forward. Don’t become so impatient that you become stuck and sit still."
Page 47
"What are you praying for? Are your words speaking life as you command your mountain to move, or are they speaking death, which causes your mountain to grow?"
Page 51
"Isaiah 55:9 says that the difference between your thoughts and His thoughts is the difference between heaven and earth. This gap is immeasurable, but when you spend time with Him, this gap grows smaller and smaller. Even though it will never close completely, the closer you are to God, the closer heaven becomes to you."
Page 58
"The valley or “path” referenced in this verse is the Valley of Baca or “weeping.” Although the people in this Psalm wept their way through their desolate and barren valley, they didn’t stay there. In the NIV translation, it says they “passed through.” You, too, are just passing through. Although on the hard days it might not feel as though your time of waiting will ever come to an end, this verse promises that your trial isn’t going to last forever. Often before God blesses His children, he takes them through the barren valleys."
Page 89
"Ultimately, if you so choose, your suffering will bring you closer to God, and He will get all the glory when you come out on the other side of this trial. And then, a testimony of the faithfulness of God is etched inside of you."
Page 106
"Are you feeling weary? In this scripture, Jesus tells you to let go of all your weariness and burdens, take His yoke and find rest in Him. What does the “yoke” in this verse even mean? A yoke is used to attach a team of oxen together to plow a field or pull a heavy load. Two yokes balance the load, with the stronger one in front. In the same way, Jesus wants you to join with Him so that He can carry your burdens. As He leads the way in front, He takes the heaviness of the load and offers His strength to you so that you can find true and peaceful rest as you release your burdens to Him."

I honestly cannot say enough good things about this book!
I was so blessed and inspired to read the encouraging thoughts God has laid upon Caroline's heart,
and I hope you will consider going here to order a copy of your own. 😊
As she said, we are all waiting upon the Lord for something, it seems.
Our reasons for waiting may be worlds-apart different,
but the anguish of heart is the same for all of us.
If you find yourself in a season of waiting, you will find much encouragement and support in the pages of the In Due Time Devotional.
And, don't forget!  If you use the "homespundevotions" when you order, you will receive a 10% discount and a free bookmark!!!

God bless you all, and thank you ever so much for your kind support.
We are all in this Christian walk together.
As the quote says,
"We are not placed here to see through each other, but to see each other through."

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