It’s easy to become DISTURBED in life.  Heather asks us to HALT and check the four possible reasons.  Are we: Hungry | Angry | Lonely | Tired?   
Maybe, if so, Bruce suggests that maybe we pause for a moment and seek a bit of CALM. Catch | A | Little | Moment
Unpacking DISTURBED.

Doubting Everything
It’s YOU, not ME
Say it isn’t So (can’t I catch a break)
Testing our FAITH (Facing Anything Insurmountable Trust Him
Undercurrent of the “BAD” guy
Reset with a pause
Be grateful for just one thing
Escape the Anger and Exhale
Directionally get with GOD

Proverbs 3 V 5-6. “Trust in the Lord with ALL your heart. Do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. NLT
Learn more about Bruce Pulver, contact him about your next event needing a keynote or workshop speaker engagement, and order copies of his book Above the Chatter Our Words Matter at http://abovethechatterourwordsmatter.com.
Learn more about Heather Carter, book a speaking engagement, or order Soul-Selfie or Soul-Selfie#NoFilter at https://heathercarterwrites.com/




Take away my difficulties

“…Take away my difficulties, that VICTORY over them may bear witness to those I help of Your POWER, Your LOVE, and Your WAY OF LIFE.”

This is part of a prayer I pray every morning. If you notice, it does not suggest that God not allow difficulties. Just by asking Him to “take them away”, I am assuming that they are present or are en route.

There are a couple situations I want to share with you about how God showed up in my own difficult circumstances while I was helping my son recover from being hit by a car last month. It’s not a topic to unpack today, but soon I will share with you how him being left unconscious by the side of the road and also his leg injury coincides with a story from the Bible about the Good Samaritan and the healing of a man’s damaged leg. But one story at a time!

Story 1:

I had spent the morning trying to get an appointment with a Sports Medicine Orthopedic surgeon for Berkeley. This is no easy task, in case you are wondering. Talking to an actual person is the first obstacle. After being transferred by the electronic voice several times, I finally got connected to a human. She got me scheduled for an appointment on Monday at 11:00 at their office, which was about 45 minutes from Berk’s home. This was Thursday.

I was grateful for her assistance and positive attitude that I thanked her for being so helpful and asked her for her name, something I never do. “Joanna.” I wrote it down. Bless you Joanna.

On Monday we showed up to our scheduled appointment. When I checked in they informed my that I did not have an appointment that day. I had missed my appointment that had been scheduled for last Thursday.

I calmly checked my notes and told them they were wrong. I said I had scheduled it with someone on Thursday but was certain we were not to be here until Monday.

Now, I had been through a bit of trauma, and in even in my normal state I can get confused about times and dates ( not comments from friends or co-workers, please ). But I knew that I knew that I knew I had written it down right.

After a few minutes of sweating, they finally asked me if I remembered who I talked to. And, because she had been so “helpful”, her name was on the tip of my tongue…”Joanna”.

The receptionist looked up at me with a new awareness and understanding of the debacle. “Ohhhhh…..Joaaaaaaannnnnna. Ya, she tends to get confused.” It was clear that they now believed it was not my mistake.

Of course, the doctor we were supposed to see was in surgery, so I strongly encouraged them to find me a Sports Medicine Ortho Surgeon to see STAT, because we were not leaving.

And they did.

Within a half hour we saw a new surgeon (whose name was not even on the list we had been given by our insurance) we felt confident with. He also just happened to be the one on-call during Christmas and would be able to help us if anything came up after Berk’s surgery, which he scheduled for the following week.

Story #2:

As I mentioned, I spent hours on the phone with insurance agents, doctors, detectives, police officers, pharmacists, etc. One day, I made a call to Blue Cross and after asking a few questions, the agent said she needed to put me on hold. She never came back and I was eventually disconnected. There was no way to call that specific agent back because unlike in the story above, I did not ask for her name. 😉

I called back, pretty frustrated as I was running on almost empty by this point. I got ahold of a new agent, who I now know as Debbie. I know this because after I shared my frustration with being disconnected and that I was calling because my son had been hit by a car and couldn’t make the call himself, she said, “Well honey. Sounds like you got ahold of the right person because I am a prayer warrior! It was God’s plan for you to be talking to me instead!”

We ended up talking for about 20 minutes. We covered our trust in God’s plan and power in tough situations. She shared about her 20 years of sobriety and how God has used her to serve Him while answering insurance questions like mine on a daily basis. Before we got off the phone, she prayed over me and Berkeley and thanked God that we had “locked shields”.

I hope I see her again someday. It’s possible because I invited her to my women’s event I am doing in Northern California-where she just happens to live.

I tell you these stories because it gives evidence to God redeeming the “bad stuff” and turning it into “good stuff”. Or “God stuff”.

I had difficulties. He took them away and gave me victory over them so I can point people to how He works all things out for good if we trust Him.

And to be clear, the circumstances do not always feel good or work out the way I want them to. But my heart, your heart, will be taken care of regardless of those circumstances.

Berkeley’s leg still needed surgery.

My baby boy was still left for dead in the middle of the street in downtown LA.

I still washed blood out of my son’s coat in his kitchen sink.

His fiancé still sat in her living room for 2 hours wondering why Berkeley wasn’t answering her calls or texts after telling her he was on his way.

They still had to stay in California for Christmas while all of their family celebrated in Illinois.

Berkeley still has to pay $100 in Uber every time he goes to class at USC because he can’t drive.

All these things are inconvenient. Expensive. Frustrating. Disturbing. Heartbreaking.

But God….

God is still working. He is providing. He is giving us peace and perspective and almost more gratitude than we can handle.

He knows and sees us. He knows exactly what we need from Him.

He also knows and sees you. He knows exactly what you need from Him.

My reading from “My Utmost for His Highest” (Oswald Chambers, p22) sums it up for me in a few sentences. I hope you will be mindful of how God brings victory out of your difficulties. He wants you to not only celebrate, but to “bear witness of His power, His love, and His way of life.”

“The great difficulty spiritually is to concentrate on God, and it is His blessings that make it difficult. Troubles nearly always make us look to God. His blessings are apt to make us look elsewhere…Rouse yourself up and look to God. Build your hope on Him. No matter if there are a hundred and one things that press, resolutely exclude them all and look to Him.”

Unpacking ALWAYS




Unpacking NEVER




ALL these things…

“I got it from my mama!” You may be familiar with this brag, but in my particular case, I have to admit that “I stole it from my mama-in-law!”

While we were visiting Blake’s mom over Thanksgiving, I picked up a book on my nightstand, started reading it and adopted it. I’ll have to replace it with a new one because as you know, I like to underline (as instructed in my Soul-Selfie #NoFilter intro) so it has been brutally marked up.

If you listened to my solo podcast a couple of weeks ago, you know of my confession.

I also never want to give it back because it saved my mental, spiritual and emotional health when my son, Berkeley, was in a hit a run accident the night before I left Vegas. Instead of heading back to Illinois, I went straight to LA.

Before I get to the specific entry that has been my lifeline over the past month, let me just tell you a bit about the premise of this daily reader contraband called “All to Jesus.”

The author Robert J. Morgan, when going through an especially hard time in his life, decided to read through the book of I Peter, hoping to get some insight and wisdom from the Rock (Peter) the founder of the first church and one of Jesus’ first (sort of bossy and driven and a touch arrogant) disciples. He came across the verse that many of you have probably heard many times, “Cast all your cares upon Him (God) because he cares for you.” (I Peter 5:7 NIV)

Morgan said that though he had read and heard this verse hundreds of times, this time the little word “all” jumped out at him. It made him curious as to how many times that word is used in the Bible. Can you take a guess as to how many?

5,675 times.

I know.

That’s a lot.

Morgan reflects, “The Lord doesn’t waste words in His Book…the alls in the book could have easily been left out; yet there they are. Seems it’s one of God’s favorite words. He used it thousands of times, often in passages that would have read nicely without it; yet the all maximizes the meaning to the absolute. It’s the largest little word in the world…”

As a result of studying all the verses referencing “all”, he narrowed it down to 365 and unpacks one a day for us to reflect on.

So, back to my story. I had been reading the book for a few days the morning I got Berkeley’s call. He was in the ER at hospital. He had been hit by a car while walking in a crosswalk to a parking garage in downtown LA the night before.

After I got off the phone, and after crying and praying and packing for my changed flight to LA, I sat down to read and get my bearings.

I had been away from home for 10 days and was already a little anxious about the lack of working, writing and attention I had been giving to the “responsible” parts of my life. At that moment, I had no idea how long I might need to stay in California.

Days? Weeks? Months?

What would happen to all the other areas of my life while I was gone physically and mentally?

The verses Morgan was highlighting that particular day were Matthew 6:32,33:

“The Lord knows you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added you.”

Then he told two specific stories that I am just going to quote word for word because I want you to hear it exactly how he spoke it to me on that day; the day horrific news threatened my serenity in the same way it threatened it when I was told I had Leukemia.

**Story One**

England’s Queen Elizabeth I once asked a British merchant to undertake a missions for the crown. “But your Highness,” said the man, “such a. Long absence will be fatal to my business.” To which the queen replied:

“You take care of my business, and I will take care of yours.”

When the man returned, he found that the queen’s patronage had enlarged his company immeasurably.

**Story Two**

Alice Taylor was a missionary to China whose four children were captured by the Japanese and interned in a concentration camp during WWII. Alice suffered galloping anxiety. But she recalled her pastor once putting Matthew 6:33 like this:

“If you take care of the things that are dear to God, He will take care of the things that are dear to you.”

Alice forced herself to focus on the Lord’s work while trusting Him with her cares. In time her children came home safely to the glory of God.

These stories and the paraphrase of Matthew 6:33 allowed me to more easily, and more peacefully, turn over “the cares of this world” to God so I could focus 100% on my son.

I chose to let God manage everything else (isn’t that nice of me!?🙃)

Interestingly, when I returned home and continued to read this entry again and again, I realized God had a new message for me.

Well, maybe not a new message but a new perspective on the same message.

Now I had to work and prepare for Christmas (which was in 4 days) and answer emails and felt pressure (from myself) to write and also embrace time with my daughter and son and husband who were right in front of me.

But I couldn’t get myself to be truly present or engaged because my mind and heart were still connected to the situation in California.

That’s when God showed me that I was to be present and enjoy where He had me for now.

He had some things for me to do here and I was so focused on not being with Berkeley I couldn’t get myself to do them.

These verses whispered that if I took care of the things that were dear to God here in Illinois, indeed, dear to me also, that He would take care of the thing that was dear to me in California; my son and his health and the state of his heart.

My mother-in-law recently asked our family what word they were going to focus on for this new year. I haven’t answered yet, but based on what I have been experiencing and what lessons God has taught me so far, I believe my word will be ALL.

Morgan ends with this question:

What’s your greatest need today? Whatever it is-financial, relational, physical, or emotional-It’s included in that universal all. Jesus said,

“All these things…all these things…all these things.”

Unpacking ALL


Listen in as Heather packs the word ALL and how it relates to her journey through her sons hit-and-run accident. Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be added unto you. If we “take care of the things that are important to God, he will take care of the things that are important to us.”

Learn more about Bruce Pulver, book a speaking engagement, or order Above the Chatter Our Words Matter at http://abovethechatterourwordsmatter.com/
Learn more about Heather Carter, book a speaking engagement, or order Soul-Selfie or Soul-Selfie#NoFilter at https://heathercarterwrites.com/


“I made my family disappear😥…I made my family disappear🥳”

Today is December 24th, 2022. My son, Berkeley, was in a hit and run while walking in a crosswalk in downtown LA on December 1st.

I haven’t written since. I do my best to “write in the messy”. I encourage others to do the same. But this….this was a kind of messy so deep and crowded by trauma that it took all of my mental, emotional and physical energy to do the tasks necessary to take care of what was in my power to take care of for the past few weeks.

By the grace of God I was able to be with him and his fiancé, Kinze. I did a lot of the basics but also spent hours calling doctors, detectives, police, and insurance agents. The rest of the time was spent driving to appointments, picking up medical equipment and since it’s Christmas, occasionally driving around together looking at Christmas lights and decorating the tree.

I have so much to reflect on in hindsight, but today, since it is Christmas Eve, I am going to start with something that might also help you get through your holiday if it happens to pose any threat to your serenity or the ideal holiday celebration you had in your head and heart.

There is a raging opportunity for disappointment and even despair when it comes to Christmas.

Because of Berkeley’s recent surgery they will not be coming home for Christmas this year.


I don’t like that.

man in blue christmas sweater holding a glass of wine with sad face
Photo by RODNAE Productions on Pexels.com

That was not my plan at all and I am disappointed and sad.

Maybe you feel that way this season: Disappointed. Sad.

You hoped your family would all be together but they couldn’t get a flight or afford one or all got the flu.

You prayed that certain family members would be speaking to each other again but resentments have divided your holiday celebration.

You don’t even feel like celebrating because your loved one who passed this year won’t be there with you.

You thought this year would be different. That he or she would finally get sober.

You wish you could finally bring that special someone as your holidate so your family would get off your back about your love-life.

God hasn’t shown up like you wanted Him to so you aren’t really interested in celebrating the birth of His son. Quite frankly, you are mad at Him.

Fill in the blank with any number of circumstances that can breed a disappointed, grinchy spirit.

Blake and I have had numerous conversations with Berkeley about this to help him reframe what we can’t control. We shared what we remember about our first few Christmases alone in Illinois.

Both sets of our parents lived in California when we were first married and lived 2,000 miles away. Since Blake and his dad were both working at churches, they had responsibilities on Christmas Eve. We would stay until the day after Christmas and then head out to California.

It was weird at first, but then, as we leaned into it, we found new ways to celebrate. We pulled out the Hide-a-bed mattress and watched Christmas movies all day. We found special Christmas light displays to visit and created our own holiday traditions. We still look back on that time with fondness.

Maybe you could think about it like the kid from Home Alone (which I just watched during our Christmas movie marathon while I was staying with Berkeley. I think we watched at least one a day for two weeks!).

Maybe that is a little extreme. But when we are disappointed, we have to keep perspective and be open to doing things differently. Maybe we can embrace a fresh new way of enjoying Christmas this year.

While I was in California, when the accident first happened, we tried to only do what really mattered. And what apparently really mattered to Berkeley on December 3rd because he has his priorities straight, was that Bath and Body Works was having their annual half-price candle sale. He instructed Kinze and I to leave him at the hospital and pick up a slew of Christmas candles.

I told Kinze to pick out a body spray scent for herself and that I would use it also while out there, since you still sweat in California in December. She picked one and we both used it regularly for the next two weeks. That scent floated off our bodies and swirled in their home like air freshener.

If you have ever read my blog, Smells Ring Bells, you will know that I and many others have a strong affinity to smells and how they draw us in to certain times in our life.

But listen carefully to what I am about to tell you. When I got home, I ran to my office and while I was there, I had a vague recollection about that scent. I went to my friend’s desk and asked her if I could see the body spray I had given her months earlier because I was not a fan of it, so much so that I gave it away.

It was the exact same scent from the exact same store.

My point, is that whether it is holidays, or smells, or any other trigger in our lives, we can always reframe and redeem it if we choose to. With God’s help it is possible.

For years, because of a car accident that left my brother’s son and my sister’s son paralyzed from the waist down, our family dreaded Good Friday. Somehow Good Friday, in the same respect to Jesus himself being crucified, did not feel very Good at all.

But one year, as I checked in on how my sister was doing as the day approached, she informed me that she was no longer going to grieve on that day. She was going to celebrate.

She chose to see it differently. She chose to embrace the blessings that are woven throughout the bad. There is still hope and the promise of healed hearts if we surrender to what is possible.

Perspective is everything.

Is it time for you to explore a new scent or be intentional about inhaling and relishing an old one in a new way?

For more encouragement to get you through the holidays, read:

Christmas Holiday


Primary Purpose



November 2, 2022

When I woke up this morning, the day I was to fly home from a week of vacation in Las Vegas with family, my first thought was that I was ready. Ready to get back to a regular schedule and regular life. My second thought was a reminder to myself, having experienced this mindset in the past, that often God gives us the gift of relaxation and downtime so we will be prepared for what is to come.

Sometimes we come home to chaos, tragedy, stress, and challenging circumstances. Today was not the exception.

I saw I had missed a call from my oldest son Berkeley at 6:48AM. I figured it was a butt-dial since he didn’t answer when I called back.

A couple of hours later he called again. He had been hit by a driver late the night before while walking to his car. He was left in the street and someone, we don’t know who, called 911 but did not stay to help.

That’s hard on a mama’s heart.

I now understand why we started a blog to update people on my cancer status in 2015. When tragedy hits, and you are loved by so many, you just can’t keep up. We immediately asked for prayers and we know we are getting them.

I think Blake and I are still in a bit of a state of shock so I don’t know if any of this will make sense, but typing my thoughts is what has helped me since I started doing it when I had cancer, so I just can’t not express myself this way.

I just keep praying, “God…”. And that’s as far as I can get.

We know from firsthand experience that God is in control and we are not. We know where our help comes from and that we can do this thing with Him or without Him. We also know we need people to come to our aid and our rescue.

I have been doing a lot of teaching and sharing with various groups lately. One of my latest messages was titled: Trusting God in the Trauma. I may need to refer to it immediately after I finish this post.

One of the points I made is haunting me a bit right now. You see, I had been pouting a bit (or a lot) last night because I was invited to go to a Barry Manilow concert and meet Barry himself (Sort of bucketlist item for me). Well, I went and before we even got in the auditorium we were informed that the show had been cancelled. It was rescheduled for today, at the exact time I was scheduled to fly back to my home in Illinois.

I was pretty disappointed and sad about it. The irony of this is not lost on me. In my “talk”, I share about “the day before cancer”. My son’s basketball team had lost a very important game and the boys were devastated. So was I. I remember wondering how I would ever get over that loss.

The very next day I was diagnosed with leukemia.

That annihilated the previous angst pretty quickly.

We never know what is coming and would be wise to be grateful for today’s problems because it can always be worse.

My sadness about missing Barry is gone.

How I wish that was my biggest worry right now.

For now, I think I found my words.

I will practice praise and pleading:

Dear all-mighty, all-powerful, all-knowing God….grant us mercy, patience, forgiveness, trust, resilience, hope, grace, peace, comfort, clarity, wisdom, serenity, strength, gratitude, perspective, guidance, gratitude, and healing of heart, soul, and body. (Repeat and repeat and repeat)

(I will be in touch soon. Check my facebook page for updates. Love to you all. Be grateful for today’s blessings.)

Unpacking OBEY




Unpacking EGO




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