Featured Friday with Friends 001: Meet Carrie from Journey of Hope

Hello!  I’m so excited to finally be able to bring Featured Friday with Friends to you.  It’s where I share the encouragement and testimonies of other chronic illness warriors.  As most of us know, when we realize that someone else has had similar experiences and knows how we feel,  it gives us courage and strength to keep on keeping on.

It is my pleasure to share with you the strength and courage of my first guest, Carrie Rutherford Shane from www.journeyofhope.blog.  I have to say she is one of my first internet blogging friends and God has truly blessed me with her kindness and caring.  Plus, we both have a love of photography.  😉 Without further ado –

SBH:  Carrie, thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview with me.  I know the readers will so enjoy hearing about your journey.  So, let’s get started.

Tell us three things about yourself.
Hmmm, just three things.
I am married; we have two boys, a daughter-in-law and two GrandBabies.
I am and Instructor for an X-ray school
I just signed up for an online French course. I have always wanted to learn French!

SBH:  An online French course actually sounds like a lot of fun.  Good for you.

I must know, are you a coffee or tea kind of gal?
Love coffee with a caramel creamer. I usually blend it to make a frozen drink. My diet forces to me to be creative with the creamer but I am slowly figuring it out.

SBH:  Ok, now I need a cup of coffee, caramel creamer, yum.

Since we are online friends, I know you have a sweetie of a dog.  Please tell us about her.
I have a dog named Diamond. She was a shelter dog and is a Blue Heeler/Jack Russell mix..or at least I think she is. She is over the top, seriously addicted to squirrel “hunting” and is the most “talkative” dog I have ever heard. She actually howls when she is excited.

SBH:  It sounds like she brings you much joy, which is so good for the soul.  Another thing that is great for the soul is a vacation.

Do you have a favorite destination such as the beach, the mountains, or a forest?
I love mountains and forest mostly. I like beaches only if they are the scenic kind and not so much for swimming. My favorite vacation was a few years ago when we went to England, Ireland and Scotland for a little over three weeks. Such a beautiful place!

SBH:  That sounds and looks AMAZING!  Thank you for sharing such awesome photos!

On the same note as what is good for the soul, what does God reveal to you a beautiful?  How does He touch your heart through Creation?  Nature!  It is where I am most at peace and feel alive. Feeling the wind in your face and hair and hearing the birds or rustling trees all around. My dream is to move out to some land and have places to walk every day. I could walk trails for hours. 

SBH:  Nature is indeed beautiful and a place where everyone can find glimpses of Glory.

I love quotes.  Do you have a favorite?
“Don’t dig up in doubt what you planted in faith.”  Elisabeth Elliot

SBH:  I love Elizabeth Elliot, such an insightful woman.  Let’s move on to discussing a little bit about your chronic illnesses.

What are you striving to cope with and overcome each day?
I started with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. It’s an autoimmune disease that attacks the thyroid, and it eventually stops working. It causes a cascade of other health issues. I spent the past 18 or so years getting sicker and adding things like Fibromyalgia, severe sleep apnea, etc. I was diagnosed February 2016 with Lyme disease and Babesia and have been on antibiotic treatment since. I turned the corner last September and started thinking about working again. I just started my X-ray instructing job January 2017. I am having to figure out who I am again after all these years of missing so much life, but am enjoying “reinventing” myself.

SBH:  That sounds like quite the journey.  I do love that eventually it seems God brings us through the wilderness and does indeed give us glimpses of hope and purpose from the trials.  I LOVE that you’re reinventing yourself.  This is so healthy and aligns with Romans 8:28 that states “all things work together for good for those who love God.”

Please share a testimony of God’s grace and love and how He has helped you cope.
My story of His grace is too long to post here, but I will say this much; He actually told me that these difficult, dark years were coming to me and that He would eventually bring me out of it. I did not know what He meant back then, but I know now! He has given so many sweet Christian friends through social media groups that have helped me cope and grow. They have been a blessing.

SBH:  I totally agree with you about connecting with others who understand.  It is so important to have that encouragement!

In what ways do you try to stay focused on the blessings rather than the symptoms and heartaches?
I love worship music. It lifts my mood and attitude. I also post scripture on my bathroom mirror and craft room where I can see God’s promises to me. Keeps my mind on Hope.

In what ways do you show yourself kindness and pamper yourself, even just a little?
I have turned one of the boys old bedrooms into my own craft/everything room. It’s my own space.  Need alone time quite a bit, and this helps so much.

SBH:  That sounds absolutely fantastic.  How fun!! It also leads to my next question.

What are some of your creative passions?  What medium do you like to use?
Lately, my favorite is photography. I am very amateur but I love to combine the pictures with a verse. I have been experimenting with several apps. I also like to paint with acrylics, and I have done mural/faux finish work in the past. I have a wall in my kitchen that I made faux rock out of joint compound and painted it to look like a castle wall..at least that is what I was going for. I love to make homemade cards too. I hardly buy premade anymore.

Do you find that being creative brings you moments of peace?
Not as much as it should. I am very much the perfectionist so I tend to get pretty serious about my art which leads to being critical. I need to learn to relax and just have fun with it.

SBH:  I think this a common issue with creatives, being critical and a perfectionist.  However, I’m learning there are lessons to be learned about faith, even through art.  Letting go and letting God is a big one for me.  Also, your photographs are BEAUTIFUL!  I’m happy to see the enjoyment God brings you from this passion.

How has God used creativity to draw you closer to Him?
I think sharing art allows me to be closer to Him because I am also sharing scripture and encouragement with that art. It allows me to share what He has done for me and how faithful He is.  For example, adding scripture to photo I take.   

Has creativity helped you heal in some way, physically, spiritually, or emotionally?
Yes. It has healed a lot of loneliness and isolation. I have met people, like you Melanie, who have some of the same interests and passions. We get to talk about things other than just how sick we feel. They have also boosted my confidence to try new things or just to put my art out there.

SBH:  I agree.  The loneliness can allow us the opportunity to lean into God and draw closer to Him.  However, when our brains are overloaded with pain and strife, it is a breath of fresh air to have encouragement from others who completely understand.

Please share a couple of meaningful scriptures.
“After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.”  1 Peter 5:10

“My soul, wait in silence for God only,
For my hope is from Him.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
My stronghold; I shall not be shaken.
On God my salvation and my glory rest;
The rock of my strength, my refuge is in God.”  
Psalm 62:5-7 5

SBH:  Beautiful,  Carrie.  My last question for you is this:

What lessons have you learned about faith, about God, and about yourself along the way?  
I have learned that God is faithful even when I am not. He follows through on what He says He will do and He does it with excellence. I have learned that I can be stronger than I think I am and still be dependent on God.  I have learned that I can endure a lot more than I thought I could. I really am important to Him and have not been forgotten!

SBH:  Carrie, thank you so much for taking the time to share some of our journey with us.  It’s been a blessing to put this together and to share with others so that they too may be encouraged.

Well, friends – isn’t she a dear?  Please follow the links below and send some happiness her way.  It’s a brave thing to put yourself out there and she did so with beautiful grace, serving God.






If you would like to be a guest on Featured Friday with Friends, please drop me an email – melanie@shebreatheshope.com or fill out the form below.  🙂