Sunday, January 15, 2017

The Inner Views of Victor S E Moubarak

"Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do."
I Thessalonians 5:11

It never ceases to amaze me how God places people in our lives, just when we need them most.
I can't remember exactly when the Lord orchestrated the crossing of paths between Homespun Devotions and the kind gentleman who is being interviewed today, but I am eternally grateful to Him for allowing it to be.
What I do remember is a particularly difficult trial my family and I went through last summer
and how, through our correspondence and his blog posts, he encouraged us and helped me to put things into perspective.
The wisdom he has imparted on more than one occasion has proven invaluable to me.
God's power to connect His people is unlimited.
It crosses denominational lines, spans oceans, and is unhindered by the divides and miles in between.
I often think of the account of Peter and Cornelius in the 10th chapter of Acts.
They lived in different areas, geographically, and their backgrounds were worlds apart.
Yet, God, in His infinite wisdom, deemed that a connection would be beneficial, and He prepared both of their hearts ahead of time for the intersection that changed both of their lives forever.
I am so pleased to share this interview with you today.
It is extremely edifying and full of spiritual depths, and has a little humor thrown in, too!
I know you will be blessed, encouraged, and challenged to draw closer to God as you read the inner views of this very wise man.

Christian Author, Family Man, Ordinary Person,
Victor S E Moubarak.

Cheryl: Please tell us a little about yourself.

Victor: First of all, let me thank you, Cheryl, for this opportunity to be interviewed on your website and to get to know your readers.

I would like to make clear that I am not a priest, pastor, vicar or church minister. I am just an ordinary family man trying to do his best for his family and dog who does not seem to understand me. Whenever I point and say “Get in bed!” he looks at my finger and asks “Who is Ted?”

I was brought up a Christian by loving parents who sacrificed a lot in life for me and my siblings. A debt we can never ever repay.

In my spare time I write Christian and humorous books some of which can be obtained FREE from

Cheryl: Victor, it is truly an honor to interview you and delve into the wealth of your wisdom.  Thank you ever so much for being here and for taking part in Inner Views.  Please tell us about your blog, "Time For Reflections". When did you begin blogging? What inspired you to start a blog? How has blogging enriched your life?

Victor: My Blog started in early 2009. It was after publishing my first book “VISIONS”. I was advised that it is pointless having a book if no one knows about it. A Blog would be a first step towards publicizing it.

At first, the Blog consisted of Christian articles and comments. But then, in time, I started writing short stories about a fictitious priest, (Father Ignatius), a character from my book “VISIONS”. Pretty soon I had published over 250 short stories, always with a Christian context, featuring Father Ignatius. 

I have also included in my Blog, from time to time, humorous articles commenting on life in general and how it affects us all. I consider these humorous articles very important. Let me explain.

Monthly statistics show that about 80% of visitors to my Blog are first time visitors. This is good, I believe, because it shows I am casting my net ever wider. Most of these new visitors come to my Blog to read the humorous articles. Now imagine, if only one person ventures to read my Christian articles also, and in so doing, gets to know and experience the love of God for the first time; then it has all been worthwhile.

Of course, I am also very grateful to my regular loyal visitors, like you Cheryl, who support me and encourage me to keep on writing. When they leave a comment I make a point of visiting their Blog; and I also pray for them. I must admit, the list of people I’m praying for is getting ever bigger and I’m getting sore being always on my knees. 

That said; I would like to see many of your readers, Cheryl, visit me at and join our Christian family on the Internet.

Cheryl: We would love to hear about the books you have written.

Victor: Let me start by saying that about 2000 years ago something very immense and important happened to this world. God, our Creator and the Creator of the Universe, revealed Himself to humanity. For a limited period of about 30 years we saw Jesus, the only Son of God, spoke to Him, listened to Him and witnessed His many miracles. The most significant events of this period are Christ’s death for us and His Resurrection; and indeed sending us His Holy Spirit. They are the basis of Christianity.

But over the years this message, this truth, seems to have been diluted and forgotten by many. I have often wondered what do people in general, and Christians in particular, actually believe. I asked myself, what if Jesus appeared to us today, right now, as a human again. What would we make of it?

That’s the main theme of my first book “VISIONS”. It tells the story of three children who see a vision of Christ in the park on their way to church. They tell their priest, (Father Ignatius), about it. News soon spreads throughout town and people react to it differently. Some readily believe. Others react differently, violently even, towards the children and their families. The priest has a crisis of Faith, not knowing what to believe. The Church tries to hush the whole story fearing bad publicity. Meanwhile, Jesus appears again and again.

The story is set in an un-named northern English town in the late 1950s or there about. I have deliberately kept the location and time period vague to point out that it could have happened anywhere and at any time. If Christ appeared to you right now, would you recognize Him?

Following, “VISIONS”, I wrote several short stories featuring Father Ignatius. These cover various subjects regarding Christian beliefs and every day to day situations that could happen to all of us – love, marriage, divorce, parenting, hurt, betrayals, forgiveness and so on.

These stories have been compiled into various books available either FREE from or at a small charge to cover costs in paperback or KINDLE format from AMAZON. Click HERE.

The intention is not to make money, but to make available Christian based fiction to a wider audience.

I have also written two other novels featuring Father Ignatius. “THE PRIEST AND PROSTITUTE” is a murder mystery story about Father Ignatius being accused of murder with all the evidence pointing towards him whilst he tries in vain to plead his innocence. This is the time when he finds out who his friends really are. A time of struggle to maintain one’s Faith when it seems that even God has abandoned you.

“TO LOVE A PRIEST” is also a fictional love story featuring Father Ignatius and dealing with the delicate subject of celibacy and chastity amongst the clergy.

I have also written several other books dealing with Christian reflections and prayers. The two latest are entitled “REFLECTIONS FOR THE SOUL” and “MORE REFLECTIONS FOR THE SOUL”

Finally, I’d like to mention my humorous books covering a variety of subjects which, as mentioned before, serve to draw new readers to my Christian books.

Cheryl: What is the earliest recollection you have of God and His presence in your life?

Victor: I remember it as clearly as if it were yesterday.
As I said earlier, I have been brought up a Christian by my parents. I was about 7 or 8 years old, the family was going through a traumatic period in our lives. I was on the school bus on my way to my Christian school, and suddenly it all clicked into place. Like a light bulb switching on in my head. I just knew that God does indeed exist. All I had been told by my parents and at school and church made sense. Somehow, I can’t explain it, I was certain that there was and there is a God. There was no looking back after that.

Cheryl: Who do you credit as being your most influential Godly mentor? Why? Can you share some of the ways they have prompted you to draw closer to God?

Victor: I suppose my parents, first of all. By their example as well as their teachings. By their great generosity and kindness towards the poor and the down-and-outs. Something I have never been able to match.

Let me tell you a story. As a young boy I had an autograph book where I got friends and teachers to write something for me. I asked my father to write something and he wrote: “Keep your mind set on the things that are in Heaven, not things here on earth!” As a child, this did not make much sense and I ignored it. It was not until years after he died that I realized he was quoting Colossians 3. 

Also, over the years I have got to know a number of good priests. Two that stand out are Father A and Father F. They truly represent what it is to be God’s messenger and representative on earth. By their generosity in raising great funds for the poor and by their giving of their time to many people in need of comfort, forgiveness, and advice, they have inspired me to go on and try, as best I can, to emulate them.

Cheryl: What are three of your favorite parts of Scripture? How have these particular passages ministered to you and helped you?

Victor: "Do not be afraid, for I have redeemed you. I have called you by your name; you are Mine." ISAIAH 43:1-5

Well, this speaks for itself. Whenever I go through difficult times in my life, (quite often it seems), I remember to take courage and as far as I can, shake away any fears. The next passage also gives me encouragement when I'm feeling low and things go wrong.

"The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want." PSALM 23.

If you read the whole Psalm slowly, taking in every word, I hope you too will feel God's calming love and care in your life at times of troubles.

"I believe Lord; help my unbelief." MARK 9:24

If I'm honest, my Faith often falters and stumbles when things get difficult. And this passage reminds me that I'm not alone in feeling this way.

"And I will be with you always, to the end of time." MATTHEW 28:20

This promise from Our Lord certainly keeps me going and reminds me that Jesus is here with us right now; only a prayer away.

Hey wait ... that's not three ... that's four. Poor mathematical education I guess.

Cheryl: How do you maintain closeness with God in your daily life? What are some of the things you do, on a regular basis, to keep your relationship with Him current and thriving?

Victor: Through prayer. It does not have to be long prayers reciting things over and over again, like the Rosary, or various Saints’ prayers and so on. I don’t believe in giving God a headache.

I prefer shorter, intimate, one-to-one conversation type prayers at any time. For example saying thank you first thing in the morning for having woken up once again. Praying for my family and their well-being. Or, for instance, when I meet someone and we are discussing their problems, I find myself praying silently for that person whilst listening, and asking God to help them. Or praying for visitors to my Blog … I am actually praying for you right now!

Of course, I attend church regularly. But God is not only in church; He is everywhere. Just a prayer away.

Cheryl: What is your favorite place to write? Describe the setting you most prefer to be in while writing.

Victor: Well, it has to be in my study because that’s where my computer is. It is quiet there and I am not disturbed. It is also a good place for prayer or Bible reading.

But ideas for stories, articles, funny anecdotes and so on occur at any time. It could be whilst I’m driving, on a bus, train or whenever and wherever.

I find this difficult because I have no way of recording what is on my mind. Sometimes the stories come to mind not in picture form, but literally in words. I can see in my head the actual words I have to write, the sentence formation and particular adjectives or adverbs I have to use. And I have nowhere to record these quickly before I forget them. I have tried carrying a tablet with me, and a voice recorder, but I am not very good with technology and this has not been convenient. I sometimes scribble something on a piece of paper and write it down more fully afterwards. But you can’t always do that, not when driving for instance, or taking the dog for a walk.

Often ideas and scripts come to mind so quickly that some are, sadly, forgotten and lost for ever. I have always been able to write. It’s like a non-stop fountain gushing words all the time. When I was younger I wrote several comedy scripts which a group of us put together on stage to raise money for charity.

Cheryl: Your writing is multi-faceted...humor, deep spirituality, contemplative. What and/or who most inspires you in each genre?

Victor: I seem to have always had a sense of humour. The Groucho Marx and Bob Hope type of humor I suppose.

I tend to see the funny side in most situations. People tend to take things too seriously and often arguments start and people take entrenched positions to defend their corner because they can’t see beyond the argument itself. Life is too short to be spent arguing.

Somehow, I often found myself stepping back from a situation and seeing the funny side of the argument or dispute. This has helped me often at work when having to resolve conflicts in managerial situations.

My humorous writing is an extension to that. I hope that my funny stories, not only amuse readers but somehow gets people to lighten up and not take themselves too seriously.

My contemplative spiritual writing is, I suppose, an expression of my Faith. I believe Christianity is a way of life. Not a badge we wear on our lapel, or a passport which requires the correct pre-requisite number of ticks, and guarantees us an entry to Heaven. It is pointless saying we are Christian if we don’t live Christian.

Cheryl: Some of my favorite blog posts of yours have had to do with forgiveness. I have drawn much wisdom from your sharing of your own experiences with forgiving others. Will you kindly share with us some of the things you have learned about what it means to forgive?

Victor: Thank you, Cheryl, for your kind words about my writing.

I believe that the world will never have peace until it learns to forgive. Whether we forgive on a national scale or we start, step by step, on a personal level. We have all been hurt in life at one time or another, some more than others. Unless we can truly forgive, then there’s no real hope for us or for the world.

When Christ taught us to pray, the only condition he attached to our requests to God relates to forgiveness. He said forgive us as we forgive others.

But what if we were actually forgiven as we forgave others? I guess there will be many people who will not be forgiven at all when they meet God face to face. Let’s think about that for a moment.

We say we have forgiven. But many continue to harbour ill-will and bad feelings in their hearts towards those who have hurt them. Is that true forgiveness?

Let’s consider what true forgiveness is. It is when we really have no ill-feelings, thoughts of revenge, or retributions towards the person who has hurt us. They may have asked for forgiveness; and we have told them honestly they are forgiven. Or they may not have asked for forgiveness, and they do not either seek it; nor care whether we give it. Either way, in our heart, we must truly forgive them and bear no ill-will whatsoever towards them. And here is the difficult bit – we must prove it to God when He asks us.

Now I am not saying that we forget the hurt done to us. That is impossible. The greater the hurt the more it is imprinted on our memory for ever.

Sure, I have been hurt in life. I have daily reminders of the great hurt done to me. I cannot help that. Sometimes, my hurt turns to resentment and ill-feelings. That is only natural. The trick is, and what we are required to do, is to control that hurt and turn it to positive action.

Let every reminder of the hurt done to us be another opportunity to truly forgive that person once again.

The best way to do this is to pray for that person. You cannot possibly hate a person you pray for. Tell God how you feel about that person and the hurt done to you. Tell God that you have tried to forgive as best you can and that now you hand over that person to God. Pray that that person gets to know and love God, and that one day, hopefully, you will meet that person again in Heaven. Wouldn’t that be wonderful? You and that person united again in love and forgiveness?

When Christ sees the scars in His hands, feet and side He remembers again the hurt done to Him; and He forgives once more.

Cheryl: As times become increasingly evil and the hostility towards God and His Word intensifies, what are some of the things you do, on a personal level, to make a positive difference?

Victor: It is true that the world is becoming more secular and ever increasing numbers do not believe in God at all. And indeed, the devil is having a good time.

But let us remember that the devil is allowed free movement to spread his evil within strict limitations placed by God. God is still in control no matter how bad the world is and how hostile it is towards Him.

God can take our anger and hostility. After all, He took it when hanging on the Cross, did He not?

What do I do on a personal level? Most of all I pray. I pray in the full knowledge that God is in control and, just as important, I praise Him. I praise Him not because things are going bad all over the world, but because He is still in control. Praise is an affirmation of His omnipotence and power over the whole universe.

I have often seen it, that when things are bad in our lives, really bad, and we praise God, it somehow opens a channel where He uses the bad situation to work things right for us, or for those affected by the situation. It is as if a bad situation is an opportunity for God to show His power and His love for us all.

Cheryl: If you could go back and re-live any portion of your life, thus far, what would it be? What are your favorite memories of that span of time?

Victor: Oh … there have been so many good times in my life. It is so difficult to pick a particular period.

I had a wonderful childhood. Even though I have always been a very serious thinker, even as a child; I still had that sense of fun, and the joy of laughter.

Also, there were many other happy periods in my growing up years as a teenager, and in my adulthood, I’d like to re-live. Too many wonderful periods I’d wish to re-visit if I had a time machine. To meet old friends again and re-share happy times together.

It really would be difficult, Cheryl, to pin point a particular period of my life which was better than any of the others – although I’ll admit the Jurassic Period was great fun. The dinosaur steaks were huge and tasted wonderful, I tell you.

Cheryl: Oh, Victor!  Leave it to you to make us laugh in the midst of such serious dialog!  Now, back to seriousness, describe one of the darkest times of your life. How did your faith in God sustain you and help you through?

Victor: There have been many bad times in my life. Some too painful for me, and my family, to re-visit here. But one thing I’ve learnt. Through my darkest hours, God was always by my side. Even though I probably did not realize it at the time.

Cheryl: If you were seated across the table from someone who is void of hope, who is considering opening their heart to God, and who is willing to listen to anything you would like to tell them, what would you say?

Victor: You really are good, Cheryl, with your perceptive questions.

The darkest times in life are when there is no hope. Without hope people lose the very ability to exist. If I were to be with someone with no hope I would definitely not preach to him.

When someone is starving he needs food, not platitudes about God’s love for him. And obviously, someone with no hope is starving for his very existence.

What I would do first in this situation is silently pray for him, without his knowledge, I would ask God to visit this situation and to help this individual, as well as help me in what I have to say and do.

I would listen to his problem, and where I am able, offer some glimmer of hope, some encouragement, a reason to look forwards to a better outcome, a practical solution, if there is one. Of course, each situation is different. But one thing is for sure; if God were to put me in that situation where someone has no hope then it is because He wants me to help that person; and this being the case, He will give me the right words to say and tell me what to do.

Cheryl: Out of all of the things God has asked you to do, what has been the most challenging?

Victor: I think two things come to mind.

Keeping the Faith and not despairing has been a challenge throughout my life, especially when things go wrong, very wrong.

I often think of St Peter. Here is a man who has witnessed Christ’s many miracles, heard Him preach and teach, and lived with Him and the disciples. Yet, his Faith faltered many times. When he feared stepping off the boat and nearly drowned, (Matthew 14:29); when he did not believe that Christ would be Crucified, (Matthew 16:21); when he did not understand why Jesus was washing the disciples’ feet, (John 13:5); and indeed when he denied three times knowing Jesus, (Matthew 26:69). Yet, despite his many failings and weakness of Faith, Christ forgave him and he went on to better things.

This gives me comfort that there is still hope when my Faith fails me.

The second challenge, in an ever increasing secular world, is the ability to stand up and proclaim Jesus and God’s Word.

I remember years ago, as a young man, when I worked for a big multi-national organization in London, I used to visit the many churches around the City during my lunchtime. One day, a colleague and I went to St Paul’s Cathedral, not far from our offices. As we entered the magnificent building he waved his hands in the air and in a dismissive tone he said, “Tell me Vic. Do you believe in all that?”

As a non-believer, he expected me to agree with him and joke about Christianity and religion.
I replied, “As a matter of fact, yes I do!”

Our relationship changed from there on, and I suppose I got the reputation at work of being a Christian.

I suspect that’s what keeps me writing Christian books and maintaining my Christian Blog.

Cheryl: If you had the opportunity to meet with Jesus on earth, face-to-face, what is the one thing you would most like to ask Him?

Victor: My word, you really are good with your questions, Cheryl. I would hate being a politician facing you on radio or TV.

If I were to meet Jesus, after falling off my chair with fright, I would first thank Him for what He has done for me. I would then ask Him how come He has been so patient with me over the years. If I were Jesus, I would have given up on someone like me a long time ago. Thank God that I am not Jesus!

Cheryl: Who is the wisest person you personally know or have known? What quality(ies) about this person do you most admire? 

Victor: With wisdom comes courage. Courage to do the things that might be difficult at the time but they are the right things, the wise things, to do in the long run. Not necessarily for self, but for the good of others.

This being said, I believe my parents were very wise and courageous in their life choices, under extremely difficult and dangerous situations, for the benefit of their children.

I have also already mentioned Father A and Father F whose wisdom and piety and generosity have been an example to many.

Cheryl: How can we pray for you?

Victor: I should be grateful for prayers that God continues to be by my side as He has been all along up to now; and for my private intentions.

Cheryl: Thank you again, Victor, so very much for sharing your heart with us.  You are such a blessing to my family and me!  May God bless you abundantly, in return.

Victor: Thank you and your readers for the opportunity to make new friends. God bless.

If video doesn't load, click here.

Victor, I am most grateful and humbled by all of your kind words.
They truly meant so much to me.
Please keep Victor and his family in your prayers, dear friends.
God knows the burdens upon his heart, and He is able to do exceeding abundantly above all we can ask or think.  (Ephesians 3:20)
I hope you will take the time to drop by and visit Victor often at his blog.

Thank you ever so much for reading, and God bless you all!

To read previous
click the links below.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Our Word for 2017, 5th Update on Kristen, & Giveaway Winner Announcement!!

"Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. 
Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."
John 14:27

The word didn't come like a lightning bolt, but rather gently, subtly, born from a petition in a prayer.
As Kevin worked, he listened, as Zach and I prayed upstairs.
When we finished, he called up to me,
"The Lord gave me our word for this year.
I was already thinking of it, and then you said it in your prayer.
Do you know what it is?"

I knew we had been thinking about the word, "content", but, it alone, just didn't seem to fit just right.
Kevin had jotted down some other words God has been bringing to him, 
and the words that have steadily come to me are, "ask" and "expect" and words like that,
as my faith has been so inspired, of late.

I tried to think back over the earnest prayer I had just finished praying...
so many words, so many requests that were laying heavy on my heart.
Which word was it that I had just mentioned in my prayer that God had allowed to resonate with Kevin enough to show him that it was to be our word for this new year of 2017?

"Was it restoration?" I called down to him.
That was a word I could remember using in my prayer, as I had thought back over 2016 and how hard it was for us, both physically and emotionally.
YES, we need restored, in so many ways.
But, I remembered that God gave us that word in 2014, so I was sort of hoping the one for this year would be different.

"No, it wasn't restoration.
It was another word you mentioned while you were praying", 
Kevin replied.

I finally gave up, since I couldn't figure it out.

"It was peace."
Kevin called to me.

Ahhhh....YES, please!!
It is peace.
All 3 of us knew instantly.
It fits.

"Is there an acronym that you feel like God wants us to attach to it?" I directed my question to both Kevin and Zach.

The acronym rolled off Zach's tongue, effortlessly and instantly.

P   - prayer
E  - endure
A       - ask
- content
E  - expect

So, there, we have it!
God has a way of taking words He is laying on the 3 of our hearts,
then combining them into our one word as an acronym.
It is the cry of my heart.
The desire of my soul.
I am so longing for it.

Soldiers far more advanced, stalwart, and seasoned than I even need a reprieve of peace sometimes...
a chance to regroup, reload, relax, replenish, refresh, recuperate, and rejuvenate.

The dear Holy Spirit keeps bringing these verses to my mind,
"And the land had rest forty years."
Judges 5:31

"And the land had rest from war."
Joshua 14:15b

"And the land rested from war."
Joshua 11:23
(Emphasis added)

While I realize that true peace is not always the absence of war,
but a calm inward trust in the midst of the battle,
I find myself weary and in need of our dear Lord to bring about a calming of circumstances.

Have you ever felt that way?
Have you ever just felt like screaming, "Enough is enough" and begging God for peace?

 After such intense battles over the course of the past few years,
I am believing God for a season of our "land resting from war".

Life is full of trials.
I realize this and would be foolish to think otherwise.
While my heart cries out for a time of peace, He is in control,
and whether or not He chooses to order a season of serenity, He is, and He always will be, 
 the Source of our peace.
He is the Prince of Peace.  (Isaiah 9:6)

Jesus said this in John 16:33,
"These things I have spoken unto you, that in Me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."

We live in a world where tribulation is inevitable,
but Jesus overcame, and so can we...through following Him and the path He walked while on earth.

I have found, that, at least some of the disturbance of peace in this life, can be self-inflicted.
We take on too much.
We have too much excess in our homes and in our lives.
We spend too much energy striving for the things money can buy.
We continually want more.

Jesus lived a life that was 100% eternity-focused.
His life was unencumbered by the things that are temporary.
He was always available to go and do His Father's will.
You never read where He ever, one time, had to tell someone who needed Him that He was too busy
to come to their aid.
He never put what is earthly ahead of what is Heavenly.
He was the most selfless Man who ever walked the earth.
He owned little to no physical possessions, so He was free from having to take care of them.
He was born in a borrowed space.
His first bed was a borrowed manger.
Later in life, He had no where to lay His head.  (Matthew 8:20)
After His horrific, agonizing death on the cross,
He was buried in a borrowed tomb.
He didn't need it for long.
Jesus lived His whole life completely unattached to this world.
He made the most of every moment He had to spend here,
and He never allowed this life to come before His Father's will.
He knew His time here would be short.

The longer I live, and the older I get, the more I realize how short mine will be, too.
Losing both of my parents drove that truth home with unsurpassed clarity and vividness.

Life is way too short to live it in an uproar.
To a degree, peace is something that has to be pursued.
A lot of it has to do with the choices we, ourselves, make.

"Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it."
Psalm 34:14

To achieve peace, we must be willing to let go of the things that disturb it.

If you have been reading here for very long, you know that, over the course of the past year or so,
we have really been pursuing a simpler, more minimal life.
The surprising result that has arisen amidst the progress we have made is that
our lives have become, and are steadily becoming, increasingly peaceful.

We are continuing to let go...not only of stuff, but of circumstances and encumbrances that vex us.

We have made up our minds to "seek peace, and pursue it."

Turmoil, chaos, and discord are things that, more often than you might believe, can be avoided.

Romans 12:18 says,
"If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men."
Sometimes that means the necessity of placing distance between yourself and those with whom you cannot agree in order to maintain your own peace of mind.
To continue to engage in conflict is truly the polar opposite of "seeking and pursuing peace".

While we must forgive the ones who hurt us and have caused grief for us,
God does not expect us to perpetuate the enablement of such.

We cannot change other people. 
We cannot make them see our point of view.
While we must love them and keep a tender heart towards them, there are people in this life with whom we will never be able to agree.

Sometimes, we just have to let it go, dear friends.
Forgiveness, from the heart, brings a deep sense of peace.
Forgiveness is liberating.
Forgiveness does not mean we have to go back for more.
While we must let it go and love from the heart and pray earnestly for only blessings to come to those with whom we cannot agree, we must follow the path of peace and do our utmost to avoid future conflicts that cause such pain of heart, anguished distress and vexation of spirit, and spiritual battles for us.

If you know me at all, you will know that I do not like conflict with others.
In fact, I honestly cannot stand it.
I just can't do it.
So much of my growing up years were spent caught in the crossfire of church conflicts,
my parents and I being spiritually battered, bruised, and abused and kept in a state of continual turmoil, in the process.
Dear Mom and Dad lived their entire lives trying to fit in to manmade molds in which God never intended them to conform.
It pains me to know this and to realize how much misery it caused them through the years.

I am so thankful to be free.
To have found peace.
God is continuing to break bondage chains...
to remove what is binding from our lives...
to pare off the things that rob serenity.
And, in this process, He continues to show us that some of this is up to us.

You may want to read THIS POST.

We have to be willing to let go of what does not "make for peace".

"Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another."
Romans 14:19

If you see that, after many, many attempts, it is virtually impossible to agree with someone else,
that the continuation of a relationship only adds heaped vexation of spirit,
and that the total opposite of spiritual edification is taking place no matter how hard you try to force it to happen,
it is time to let go.

There are many things, situations, and circumstances in this life that hold the potential to take away our peace.

What is stealing your peace, dear friend?
Is it the excess belongings that keep your nose to the grindstone, not allowing for time for who and what matters most in your life?
Perhaps, it is time to downsize and release the things you cannot afford.
Maybe it is a job that consumes, a relationship that vexes, or a ministry you fell into by default, but do not feel called by God to continue to pursue.
Only you and God can identity the exact thief of your peace.
It can be different for all of us.

My prayer for you is this..
that, in the midst of your battles, you find the Philippians 4:7 kind of peace.

"And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."

I love the old hymn, "What a Friend We Have In Jesus", written by Joseph M. Scriven...
especially the lines,
"Oh, what peace we often forfeit, oh, what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry, everything to God in prayer."

If video doesn't load, click here.

And, here is a video that explains the story behind this beautiful song.
It is worth your time to watch.

If video doesn't load, click here.

It is so worth whatever it costs to bring it about.
It is our word, our focus, the desire of our hearts for this fresh, new year.
I pray you find it, too.

We have been enjoying the thrills of a gentle snow...oh, it is SO beautiful!

Can I just tell you how wonderful it is to finally live in a place again where it snows!

Oh, Zach was SO excited last night, as the big snowflakes began to fall!
We made several little snowmen on the railing outside our front door.

Aren't they cute?

Today, we took a drive through the country and took in the sights of sunlight glistening on snow-covered fields and bare tree limbs clothed in pure white.
Oh, it was glorious to see the mighty handiwork of God!

Kevin said these are the biggest snowflakes he has ever seen!
Some were bigger than quarters.
Last night, I remarked that there is nothing as peaceful as a gentle, quietly-falling snow.
It falls, like a silent prayer, and there is just something so soothing about it.

Sort of like our word for this year.

Thank you, Lord!

"Now the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always by all means. The Lord be with you all."
2 Thessalonians 3:16

"Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you."
2 Corinthians 13:11

"And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace."
James 3:18


We so appreciate your continued prayers for my dear niece, Kristen and her unborn baby boy.
There has been no change, and she still surely needs your continued prayers.
She is having a lot of chest pain, difficulty breathing, and pain behind her lung.
We are very concerned, and it seems that we have a constant battle with fear, but we are continuing to "speak faith" and believe our dear and awesome God to heal her and bring her through this with no further complications.
Thank you ever so much for your support, kind words, and most of all, your prayers, dear friends.
It means SO much to all of us.

A BIG thank you to all who entered to win this wonderful book.

There were 26 commenters who entered.
I wish I could send ALL 26 of you this life-changing, amazing book!!!
It has blessed me so much over the years!
We put all 26 names in a bowl,
Kevin shuffled the names around,
the three of us prayed over the bowl of names and asked God to have His way,
and Zach picked a name.
And, the winner is...
Valerie Sisco!!!!
She is just a sweetheart and blogs at "Grace With Silk.
I hope you will stop over and visit her and consider subscribing to her beautiful blog!!
Congratulations, Valerie!!
Please email me privately with your mailing information,
and, Lord willing, we will get your book in the mail to you real soon!!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Speak Faith, & A Giveaway!!

"Death and life are in the power of the tongue..."
Proverbs 18:21

Photo taken by my sweet husband, Kevin, in Unicoi, Tennessee

Following the fresh and bountiful outpouring of new faith inspiration God has been flooding my soul with lately, has come a series of severe tests.
Isn't that the way it always works?
What's that old saying about "reach a new level, face a new devil"?
The Apostle Paul said we are not ignorant of his devices.  (2 Corinthians 2:11)
While I realize I am nothing at all without Jesus, and I need Him desperately and always will,
I am finally learning.
It might take me longer than it takes others, but I am catching on.
The longer I serve Him and the more battle-scarred I become,
the more I am wising up to satan's schemes and how he operates.
I sort of knew it was coming, and I even heard satan's menacing threats reminding me of past times he has severely attacked after God allowed me to gain new ground and infused my soul with new depths of faith.
It reminds me of Zechariah 3:1.

"And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him."

Each and every time GOD is working in our lives,
each time He is infusing our souls with His goodness,
we can be sure and certain satan is standing close by to resist everything God is doing in our lives.
It never fails.
Satan does not like faith.
He does all he can to destroy it, to hinder it, and to squelch it.

From past experience, I knew this new, untested faith for 2017 was going to be put to the test,
so I've been bracing myself.
After all, what good is something that can't stand the test?
And, how do you know something will work and stand the test if it is never proven?

As you know, my precious niece, Kristen, who is expecting a baby boy,
has a blood clot in her lung.
Along with this situation, we have been called upon to walk through several other fiery trials, of late.

At one point, I was on my knees, and I just felt so helpless.
So dependent.
So inadequate and incapable of doing one, single thing to change any of this.

As I thought of my niece and what she is going through, and the other problems overwhelmed me,
 I prayed,
"Lord, what can I do?"
His sweet, gentle, still, small voice whispered,
"ASK"....just like He has been inspiring me in the past few posts here.

So, I did.
I asked for the exact outcome that I desire in Kristen's situation.
I asked for healing for her.
For the blood clot to dissolve.
For her to be okay, for her to live to raise her dear son, and to be blessed to live a long, healthy life on this earth.
For her precious, unborn baby to be protected.
For God to allow him to thrive in spite of all of this distress and be born full-term and healthy.
For my dear sister, (Kristen's mother), to have strength and peace and assurance that all will be okay.
For the baby's father, Mike, to be comforted in his worry and fear.
That God will wrap all of them in His tender, loving care, and just show Him His love through all of this.
And, I poured out my other requests to God and begged for His mercy in all situations.

And, even though I feel much anxiety, and fear is ever near and hovering,
God is reminding me of the significance of the words that come out of my mouth.
More and more, I am aware of how hard it is to tame a tongue and not allow myself to speak those fears into existence.

"Behold, we put bits in the horses' mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body. Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth. Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be."
James 3:3-10
(Emphasis added.)

I will never forget the day that I made a discovery about the importance of our words that ended up, quite literally, changing the rest of my life.
It made me so much more aware of what I speak into existence and the enormity of power in words.
I can't recall the exact date it happened, but I do remember details that enable me to narrow down at least the general time frame it occurred.
Zach was still little enough to ride in a shopping cart, so I am thinking he must have been around four or five years old.
I can still remember the peace it gave me to know that he was still small enough to contain close to me and within my sight at all times while shopping.
Are there any other mothers who looked ahead with dread to the day their child could no longer fit inside a shopping cart?
On this particular day, I was battling a very worrisome physical affliction,
and the giant of fear was looming over me like a menacing monster.
Day after day, I would pray and plead with God to heal me and spare my life and allow Kevin and me to live and have the health to raise the dear boy riding happily in the cart in front of me.
This is a prayer I still continue to pray, to this day, and I cannot ever give God enough praise for answering it thus far.
Seeing what He has already done, fills me with fresh faith that He will continue to do the same.
I distinctly remember praying, under my breath, as I made my way through the store,
and I can tell you pretty close to the exact words I prayed.

It went something like this.
"Lord, PLEASE give me assure me that my prayers will be answered.
I need a sign, Lord.
I need to know that I am going to be okay.
That this sickness is 'not unto death'.
Please give me something to hold on to.
In Jesus' name, Amen."

Zach and I were shopping in a Goodwill store as I prayed that prayer.
I could take you to the exact one, in particular, and, as I quietly whispered those words to God, a Goodwill employee brought out a fresh cart of items that had just been donated and processed in the back room of the store.
All of you seasoned Goodwill shoppers will know, that throughout the day, employees routinely bring out one of these prized carts of unexplored goodies, and each time they do this, they ring a loud bell to announce the ushering in of the brand new treasure trove.
What follows the ringing of the bell sometimes resembles a madhouse, as the over-eager-to-find-a-bargain shoppers, with one accord, make a beeline, in a sometimes-not-so-polite unison, to the back of the store where the wealth of new and undiscovered gems are assembled and waiting to be picked over for the very first time.
To win the sprint and be bestowed with the honor of handling the what-used-to-be-another-man's-trash-now-suddenly-turned-most-sought-after-treasures is the goal and delight of every accomplished Goodwill, discount-loving shopper.
I remember that, on this particular thrifting expedition, Zach and I just happened to be very near the back when the familiar toll of the bell rang out and the legendary cart made its way through the swinging doors. 
Lo, and behold, as the dear Lord's providence provided, the cart landed just a few feet away from us!
I remember how excited I was to know that, if I didn't dilly dally, I would be, at the very least, the 2nd or 3rd person whose hands would have access to the hot off the press, potential charmers.
As I dashed forward, I had no idea that this was no ordinary thrift store treasure hunt, but, in reality, that particular highly-sought-after Goodwill cart held the exact answer to my prayers...namely,
"the sign" I had only moments before begged God for during that whispered, heart-wrenched prayer.
I reached the cart, and my eyes were immediately drawn to its gold-edged pages.
It instantly attracted me, because, at first, I thought the book lying there was a Bible.
It looked just like one.
I picked it up, and on the cover, it read, "God's Creative Power ~ The Gift Collection".
Hmm...what was this?
I opened it up, and, oh, my, I was drawn in from minute one of the first chapter...
"God's Creative Power Will Work For You
The Great Confession
Christianity is called the great confession, but most Christians who are defeated in life are defeated because they believe and confess the wrong things.  They have spoken the words of the enemy.  And those words hold them in bondage.  Proverbs 6:1-2 says, '...Thou art snared with the words of thy mouth.'  Faith-filled words will put you over.  Fear-filled words will defeat you.  Words are the most powerful thing in the universe."

I remember reading those words for the very first time and how convicted I was, as I realized the error of my ways.
I was so filled with fear, and I was bringing those fears to life by voicing them,
not infrequently, but often.

Of course, I held on to that dear, little book with the gold-edged pages,
and I have kept it close to me ever since.
It is right now, here on the table beside me.

Reading it has absolutely changed my outlook on words.
I highly recommend it.
You can purchase it by clicking HERE, OR how about reading to the end of this very wordy post?
You will find out about a way to enter to WIN YOUR VERY OWN COPY OF THE BOOK!!

Chapter 4 called, "God's Medicine" is my favorite chapter, and I often speak the suggested Scriptures aloud, when in the midst of illness and/or suffering.

The whole book has to do with our words...what we confess, and the long-reaching impact of what we speak into existence.

Jesus said,
"For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned."
Matthew 12:37

Tonight, in the midst of such trials, I am trying to be conscious of the power of the words I say.

Their potential is profound...either for good or for bad.
My words can either speak life or they can speak death.
They can encourage, or they can inject hopelessness.
They can depress, or they can uplift.
They absolutely hold sway over the ones in my inner circle whom I influence most.
They can bless, or they can curse.
They can wound, or they can heal.
They can bring peace, or they can stir up strife.

Dear Lord, help me!

No matter how concerned I feel inside,
regardless how much fear hearing the words of others ignites in me,
I want to SPEAK FAITH, in response.

Because GOD is still GOD, no matter what.
He is God, and He will always be God.
He will never lose control.
And though it takes a continual, concentrated effort to keep them there, my eyes are upon HIM,
and what HE can do.
Faith in Him and His power is what I want to give life to and to speak into existence.

God can do anything, my friends.
There is NOTHING too hard for Him.

So often, I think of Romans 4:17.
Speaking of Abraham and what God did for him, it says this,
"(As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before Him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were."

Did you catch that?
God, OUR GOD, calls "those things which be not as though they were".

We hear doctor's diagnoses.
We hear "Job's comforters" telling us our situation is impossible.
We hear satan's continual, never-ending. long procession of lies, one right after the other.
We feel pain.
We feel anxiety well up, as we imagine the worst.
We feel like we are being punished.
We feel abandoned by God.
We see sickness.
We see death.
We see no hope, no change, no way things are ever going to be different for us.
We see failure, past sins, our own issues and hang-ups.

What we have to remember is this,
we do not walk by sight.
We walk by faith, remember? (2 Corinthians 5:7)

We absolutely cannot go by what we feel, hear, and see.
We have to will ourselves to look above all of that.
Because God is BIGGER, and God "calleth those things which be not as though they were."

God sees our sickness, and He calls us well.
God sees terror, and He speaks peace.
God sees the threat of death, and He tells satan to back off.

"And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him.
And the LORD said unto Satan, The LORD rebuke thee, O Satan; even the LORD that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee..."
Zechariah 3:1,2

Praise GOD forevermore!

"When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him."
Isaiah 59:19

God created this world out of nothing.
He is the only One Who can create.

Create - to form out of nothing

"Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear."
Hebrews 11:3

"...that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water..."
2 Peter 3:5

God doesn't need something to create.
God starts with nothing.
Then God speaks, and everything changes.

God speaks, and the thing He speaks comes into existence.

Jesus spoke, "Lazarus, come forth", and the man who had been dead for FOUR DAYS
instantly came to life and walked out of that tomb alive!  (John 11:43)

Jesus spoke to the Nain widow's dead son who was being carried by in a burial procession,
and the dead man sat up and began to talk!  (Luke 7:11-15)

To a dead girl, Jesus spoke, "Damsel, I say unto thee, arise!", and immediately she stood up and walked!  (Mark 5:35-42)

To the man who was lame from birth and begged daily at the gate called Beautiful,
Peter spoke,
"In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.  And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ancle bones received strength. And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God."
(Acts 3:1-8)

A disciple of Jesus named Dorcas (Tabitha) died, and her friends sent for Peter.
When he arrived, he went into her room, he prayed, then Peter spoke to her and said,
"Tabitha arise!", and she opened her eyes and sat up! (Acts 9:36-40)

When Paul was preaching in Lystra, he saw an impotent man in the crowd, who had been a cripple from his mother's womb and had never walked.
Paul perceived that the man had faith to be healed, and Paul spoke with a loud voice,
"Stand upright on thy feet.  And he leaped and walked."
(Acts 14:8-10)

Words spoken in faith will absolutely change the course of events, my friends.
Words are powerful.

"Death and life are in the power of the tongue..."
Proverbs 18:21

How many of us truly believe that God can still heal?
If we believe, why do we continue to give voice to and speak doubt and unbelief?
Why do our words belie our hearts?
If we believe, why don't we start speaking faith?

God is still on the throne.
He is still the same.

"Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever."
Hebrews 13:8

"Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father."
John 14:12

I do not know what you are going through, but I want to encourage you to SPEAK FAITH.
Speak what you know God can do.
Give audible voice to His power.
Magnify Him through your words.

I SO want you to have a copy of the book I talked about above.
It has changed my life, and I want it to change yours.
SO, I am going to order a brand new one and have it shipped to one of you!

There is just one "catch".
In order to enter this giveaway, I want to hear you testify!
I would like for you to leave a comment below, but not just any comment.
I would love for you to just share something amazing that GOD has done for you on a personal level,
because we overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony.
(Revelation 12:11)
And when we share what He has done for us with others, it increases their faith.
It encourages them to trust God, and to step out and speak faith into their own situations.

So, tell us what God has done for you, and you will automatically be entered to win this amazing book!!

The giveaway will end Saturday, January 14th at 12:00 am.
The winner will be chosen by this oh-so-sophisticated method:
We will number the commenters, in order, put the numbers in a container, and Zach will randomly pick one!
We are going to open this giveaway to EVERYONE!!
That includes our friends in other countries!
So, please enter, and share your testimony with us!
To God be ALL glory!
To Him it is due!
And, please, dear friends, keep Kristen and her baby in your continued prayers.
She is suffering from pain in her back behind her lung, and she is still having trouble breathing.
We appreciate it so much more than we could ever say!
God bless you!

Friday, January 6, 2017

The Inner Views of Allie Casazza

"Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content."
Philippians 4:11

I love to meet people who inspire me on this minimizing journey.
When they approach minimalism from a Biblical, Christian perspective, 
well, that's just icing on the cake, and it makes it all the sweeter.
I recently "met" one such lady through a pin of this post, and I knew right off the bat, I so wanted to share her inner views with you, dear readers!
So, I asked, and, she so graciously accepted my offer to participate,
and, God bless her, she kept her word, in spite of the busyness of the Christmas season!
I know you are going to be inspired, motivated, and encouraged as you read along, and I hope you will stop by and visit her.

I am so blessed to share with you the
Wife, Homeschooling Mama to Four, Minimalism Guru,
and Intentional Living Coach,
Allie Casazza.

Cheryl:  Could you please tell us about yourself? 

Allie:  I grew up in Southern California, was raised by my amazing godly parents, attended a private Christian school, and knew the presence of God from a very young age. My mom taught me to know the Holy Spirit, and I talked with Him often even as a very little girl. I always had a deep sense of purpose because of that. I met a boy named Brian in seventh grade algebra class. We hung out in the same group of friends all the way through school, then went to our senior prom together on a whim and realized we were kind of perfect for each other, so we started dating and got married two years later. We have four small kids (age seven and under, all born within four years). 

I run my business from home along with my husband, we homeschool our kids together, and we are currently traveling the California coast in our twenty-six foot camper. It's an adventure for sure! 

Cheryl:  How has following Jesus most influenced your life? How has knowing Him changed you?

Allie:  His leading in my life... His gentle tugging at my heart in making big decisions and knowing which way to go when life gets crazy - I'm not sure where I'd be without that. Knowing Jesus has made me a purposeful person, and it's profoundly influenced every step I've taken in my life. He is my best friend. 

Cheryl:  Will you share with us about your love story? How, when, and where did you meet your husband? Do you remember how you felt when you realized he was the one for you? 

Allie:  I remember noticing Brian and how he always tapped on the back of my chair in class - he's a drummer. I always admired how sweet he was, but funnily enough, never really got to know him very well until prom night. We stood on the deck of the Queen Mary and talked the entire night. I remember thinking, "how has this guy been right in front of me all these years and I am just now realizing he's the one?" When we went inside to eat dinner, my plate was placed in front of me and it was the chicken I had ordered, and I must've made a face because it looked gross. Brian traded plates with me without even hesitating (he had ordered the steak) and I knew right then I would marry him. We fit like an old couple right away. He knew me. 

Cheryl:  What is your favorite part of being a mother? How does motherhood enrich your life?

Allie:  The constant sense of play. I have an incredibly imaginative bunch (thanks to our minimalist lifestyle) and my kids are always coming up with amazing scenarios and stories and games. I love watching them play and being a part of their play. It fills me to the brim. 

Being a mother obliterates all boredom in my life. Our life is loud and messy and adventurous because of our kids - I wouldn't change a thing. 

Cheryl:  How were you first introduced to minimalism? At what point, did you feel that God was calling you to live a simpler, more minimal life?

Allie:  Between my third and fourth babies, I struggled very much with depression and chronic overwhelm. I felt like I was living every day in survival mode - barely getting by and not really enjoying my life, despite how blessed it was. 

Through God's leading, I came to figure out that when I let go of the things that were cluttering my home, I had more time, more joy, and more freedom. I felt lighter and like I could handle the chaos of three babies under three and a husband who worked long hours. I kept lightening my load at home and that led into lightening my calendar, the toxic relationships in my life, my eating habits, etc. Now I live a very minimalistic lifestyle, and my business is all about helping other moms do the same. 

Cheryl:  Once this calling became clear, what is the first step you took to begin this process?

Allie:  I purged the playroom. It was this big, open room with no door that you could see from the entryway, the living room, and the kitchen. There were toys pouring out of bins, off of shelves - just everywhere. My kids weren't even playing with them. They would wander in there, dump everything out, then wander back out complaining of boredom. That room had no purpose except to burden me and steal my time, so I donated almost everything in it. 

Cheryl:  What happened next? How did the journey continue? 

Allie:  My kids started playing better and for hours at a time. At their young ages at that time, it was incredible. I knew I was onto something after that. I decluttered my laundry and dishes next (the two huge time-suckers for me), and that made another massive difference in my life and my joy. I found that I had so much free time! I was becoming more joyful and the kind of mom I always wanted to be - less stressed, able to play and relax with my kids, able to soak them up and enjoy this sweet season - it made all the difference in the world to my family. 

Cheryl:  Where would you say you are now, as far as reaching your long-term downsizing goals?

Allie:  I am all the way on the other side of minimalism now. We're doing the full-time travel thing right now, but before this our house was very simple, open, and held only what we love and need. It wasn't boring and white like a stereotype minimalist house - that's not me. You can infuse your home with your style and personality without living cluttered. 

Cheryl:  How have you eliminated excess in your home, in your life, and in your obligations? Are there creative ways you can share with us concerning how to dispose of material things that are no longer wanted, used, or needed?

Allie:  I started questioning everything, and keeping only what is essential to a holy, fulfilling life. I got rid of everything in my home that wasn't worth my time, because what takes up your space takes up your minutes. I began implementing that same strategy in my calendar, in who I spent time texting, what commitments I made, what obligations really needed to be a part of my life- everything fell under the filter of minimalism. 

As far as disposing of your unnecessaries, I'm a huge fan of donating to small places. Find a local place, church, or organization that accepts donations and bless them at the same time as you are liberating your own life. 

Cheryl:  How do you maintain simplicity after it is achieved and not allow yourself to fall back into old habits?

Allie:  Rhythms. We have a monthly decluttering rhythm where we re-question the things in our home as we do our deep cleaning. We are also mindful when we're shopping and implement little rules like one in, one out, with things like toys and clothing. 

Cheryl:  How do you think minimalism relates to the way Jesus lived His life on earth?

Allie:  This is a fantastic question! Jesus lived the most humble life. He wasn't focused on material things, in fact, He often talked about living in a way that focuses on everything but material things, and He modeled that for us. He says we should be living in a way where we could ditch all our things to follow Him (Matthew 19) - that means being unattached and living a life intentionally focused on something bigger than our possessions. 

Cheryl:  What are your favorite Scripture verses that teach minimalism?

Allie:  "Take care, be on your guard against all covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions." - Luke 12:15

"Sell your possessions and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is there your heart will be also." - Luke 12:33-34

"Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction." - I Timothy 6:6-8

Cheryl:  Has your husband been on board with your determination to live a minimal life? 

Allie:  He was not on board at first. He had some serious hoarding tendencies and liked to keep random things for future projects, and had a very hard time letting go of things. It got to a point where I knew I needed to live this way, as I was seeing it transform my motherhood and help heal me of my depression, but I didn't want a wall of resentment between us, so I had an honest talk with him and we came to a compromise. I would declutter all the areas in the house that affected me and my days at home with the kids, and he could have the master closet as well as the garage to store all his things and keep it as messy as he wanted; he agreed to that. 

We went on like that for about two years, and honestly I could've gone on forever that way and been totally happy. But there was a move we needed to make to a new house, and I packed up the entire house in two days, by myself with the kids at home with me. When it came time for Brian to do the garage, he assured me it would be done before our move date. It ended up costing us lots of extra money and extra days spent in the old house because of all the stuff he had collected. After that, he asked for my help and he's been a minimalist ever since. In some ways, he's stricter than I am now!

Cheryl:  What would you say to the reader who feels led to let go of excess but who has a spouse who does not see the need of simplifying and may even be a hoarder?

Allie:  If your husband isn't on board but you want to live this way, relax and don't pressure him. Nagging will only push him further away. Compromise like we did, and realize that just because you're married doesn't mean you'll always be on the same page in everything all the time. It's okay to move forward with this in your own areas and let him be. Also, pray about it! Prayer changes things. 

Cheryl:  Let's face it. Living a minimal, Christ-centered, eternity-focused life is complete opposite of today's consumeristic, always wanting more mindset. Who, if anyone, has most opposed you in your process of letting go of things? Who has most encouraged you? 

Allie:  I haven't encountered very much opposition in this journey, but there have been some hateful comments on social media as my message has spread. I think they come from conviction, which is silly because I don't want to convict anyone - that's not my intent or my job. 

My husband has been the most encouraging, as well as my mom. She always lets me know how happy she is that I'm living my motherhood in freedom, unbound by clutter and chaos. That means the world to me coming from her!

Cheryl:  Are there special minimalism resources that have inspired you that you would like to share with us here?

Allie:  Joshua Becker of Becoming Minimalist is such a gem. His words are so poetic and well-put - I just adore him and his site. 

Also, for help putting minimalism into action in your own life, I have put together a starter kit that you can download for free here

Cheryl:  Have you ever gotten rid of something and regretted it later? 

Allie:  Honestly, no. Not even once. And I'm a pretty ruthless purger. 

Cheryl:  Overall, how has minimalism made you a better wife and mother?

Allie:  Less cleaning! I spend an extremely small amount of time maintaining our home (maybe 30 minutes a day) and that is incredible with four small kids! It allows me to spend intentional time with my family, I am able to read books, write, have white space in my day, pursue my purpose through my business, and homeschool my kids well because of all that freed up time. 

Cheryl:  What does minimalism look like in your home? 

Allie:  Photos are attached. They're so much better than words ;)

Cheryl:  Tell us about your blog. What are the main goals you hope to achieve through blogging? 

Allie:  I want to reach millions of mothers with the message of hope and light! I want them to know that their struggles don't have to be the norm for one more second. There is another way to do motherhood - abundantly well, with joy and intent and focus. Survival mode has no place in the life of a woman raising babies to do great things for God's kingdom!

Cheryl:  As a Christian mother, what are the main things you try to teach your children about life? How does having a minimal mindset enable you to do this?

Allie:  I want them to understand that they have a responsibility to change the world with their gifts and talents - I want them to feel the weight of that in a healthy, balanced way that excites them and gives them a sense of purpose. I want them to be not of this world, and minimalism is a huge part of that. Our kids know that we choose experiences over things, and that because of that we have Disneyland passes, travel the country in a camper, and spend so much time adventuring as a family. They understand that toys are not worth losing that for. 

Cheryl:  How can we pray for you?

Allie:  Thank you for asking! Please pray that I can continue to spread this message to other mothers. 

Allie Casazza is wife to Brian and homeschooling mama to their four small kids. 
She runs a business from home as a minimalism guru and intentional living coach 
and is passionate about Jesus, black coffee, and inspiring her fellow women to ditch survival mode. 

Thank you ever so much, Allie, for sharing your heart with us here 
and being willing to take the time to answer our questions!
May God continue to bless you and enlarge your ministry in ways you haven't even imagined!

Let's keep Allie and her sweet family in our prayers, dear friends.
God bless you all, and thank you for reading!

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