I typically reserve my blogs for tattling on myself about my silly, embarrassing and sometimes dreadful behaviors. Today, however, I have permission (OK—I don’t really have it yet, but plan to get it before I post!) to tell you about a hilarious experience I had with a friend the other night.

We were happily heading to hear a live band play at a venue located in the middle of a cornfield on the outskirts of town. Welcome to Illinois.

She had just gotten a new car. A “luxury vehicle” if you will. It had all the bells and whistles and rode as smooth as “butta”. As she raved about all the features and explained why she loved this car so much, I noticed the headlights of a car that was riding our bumper. I glanced over at the speedometer to see if, in her excitement, she forgot that the speed limit was 55.

She was going 80! I knew that this was a quality vehicle, but it sort of made me feel like I was in an alternate universe because it truly felt like we were going about 40. I told her that this car was indeed as luxurious as she was describing. I couldn’t believe that even though we were going 80mph, my body felt like we were passing the scenery, and even the world itself, at a pace that made time feel surreal.

I continued to check her speedometer as cars continued to line up behind us. Sheesh! What was so important that they needed to go over 80mph!?!?

close up of electric lamp against black background
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

My friend continued to brag about her car until all of sudden she said, “Ohhhhh wait. It looks like it may be set on Kilometers.”

She clicked a button and lo and behold, our speed registered at 30mph.

We giggled to the point of tears the rest of the way. We kind of swore never to tell anyone but alas, here I am. At least I didn’t use her name.

Besides the fact that it was hysterical, I have been thinking about how this relates to my life.

I know this isn’t an exact analogy, but all too often, events and circumstances and appointments are going about 80mph and I am right there with them, trying not to lose control.

But when I am spiritually fit, when I am connected and surrender to God and am using His lens to view what happens around me, it truly is like I am in a luxury vehicle going 30mph while the outside world surges on.

My insides are still. Safe. Secure. Smooth.

It is how I think it feels to experience the “peace that passes understanding” God promises when we turn our will and our lives over to His care. See with His eyes. Love with His unconditional love. Serve with His humble heart.

And trust His perfect timing, plan, and outcome for me and others.

On our way home from our event, we got tickled again about our earlier “mph mishap”. This got us talking about her new car vs. her previous car. It was not a piece of junk. It was actually a sports car that was pretty pricey. But, she didn’t like how it drove (probably due, in part, to not being able to select kilometers…haha). She said, “it was like I was ‘one with the road.’”

Now, sometimes that feature is said to point out the benefits of a vehicle. But, that would be for those who are not driving on the roads in Illinois. They are pretty treacherous, particularly in the country. Trust me, you do not want to be “one” with Illinois roads!

This also helps me get a visual for what it is like to live with God’s spirit guiding me. It’s like I am on the road, but don’t have to succumb to the bumps, cracks, holes, and occasional carcasses along the journey.

I live like I am “in the world but not of it.”

Living a life surrendered to God does not make the hard, sad, crazy, painful, chaotic stuff of life go away. But if we stay in close proximity to Him through prayer, meditation or simply acknowledging His presence as many times a day as we possibly can, we will live with the serenity that makes us feel like we are going 49mph while the world around us is going 80.

Unpacking PRESSURE

Put there we get to respond
Really is that really true
Everyone has a perspective
Seen as a performance test
Subtle ways to step into it
Untie situation & outcome
Relax and seek your CALM
Envision the tire w/o air

Psalm 46:10 Be still and know that I am God.
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





Life has been pretty chaotic for me the past few months. Some of the chaos was bad—like my son getting hit by a car and all that goes with that. Some of the chaos has been good—like Blake’s mom being here for a week and my mom here for a week shortly after that.

For me, chaos is simply anything out of my normal routine—good or bad. I am a unique creature. I need structure, otherwise I forget to do even the simplest things like take vitamins or feed my cat. However, I sort of hate structure because I am also a “free spirit” who enjoys flying by the seat of her pants. But I can only live like that for so long before my insides get so distracted by flitting from activity to activity or person to person, that I get emotionally out of whack and to be honest, a bit depressed.

One of the main struggles I have been having lately, is that the only emotions I can access are sadness, which comes on me when something triggers it, or pressure. I guess pressure isn’t exactly an emotion, but it’s definitely a real entity that I feel almost non-stop. I know that it is pressure I have put on myself to navigate, control and “figure-out” (the worst F word of all) any number of circumstances in my life. It’s also pressure to better manifest all the behaviors and attitudes I long to have define me as a woman of God. I feel a constant sense of failure in most areas.

I am not telling you these things to make you feel sorry for me or cause you to feel the need to affirm me. I also don’t want to scare you to death or wonder if you should call some type of hot-line.

One of the things I have been neglecting while striving to “make it happen” in all areas of my life, is writing my blogs. I typically write on Thursday mornings but have been out of my routine for so long, I often forget what day of the week it even is!

While I was doing some reading this morning from a beautiful Catholic App called presentationministries.com, it gave a word that Jesus would say to me through scripture. My suggested response (which on this particular day happened to be: SILENCE), and then prompted me to get on my knees before God.

So I did.

It did not take long, after accessing the sadness I mentioned above, to sense God putting His hand on my shoulder and saying something like: “Didn’t I give you the gift of writing to help you reason things out in your mind and then share those thoughts with others who might need to hear it too?…. Then why aren’t you writing?”

I have not written because I was too busy. Too sad. To discombobulated. Too depressed. Too discouraged. Too disappointed. Too fearful.

But those are exactly the reasons I need to write. I felt those feelings when I started writing; Back when I had Leukemia and had no answers.

cup smartphone desk notebook
Photo by Markus Spiske on Pexels.com

I wrote my way into healing. Healing for me and healing for others, apparently.

Even if I write every day and don’t publish it, I believe it helps me unravel the tangles in my brain. It gives me clarity. It gives me hope. It gives me perspective and helps me kick my own butt for thinking just awful things about myself and sometimes others.

I have been waiting to get healthier in my head before I wrote another blog. I am realizing that it probably won’t happen in that order.

I need to practice what I preach at my Soul-Selfie Soirée events: Share while sick.

I can start today because my story always matters, even when it’s a desperate story of doubt and fear.

Because at the end of the day, the story doesn’t end there.

I always know where my help comes from. My hope comes from the Lord, Maker of Heaven and Earth.

I can already feel the knots in my body and soul starting to disintegrate…

Unpacking OVER




On Top. Who is in charge of your life? Who are you in charge of?
Very done. “I am over it!”
Everything is complete. It’s over now. You can move on. 
Reflection. Look back. What did you learn. How did you grow? How can you do it different in the future? How did you see God show up? Where did you miss His hand or blessings? Who do you need to make an amends to?

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.co

Unpacking PAUSE

Often we don’t realize how fast we are going. Often we can be overwhelmed without knowing how or why.
Let’s take a moment and PAUSE. It’s not easy but oh so important and can change and even save a life.
How? Try this.
Unpacking PAUSE
Push that button every so often
Acknowledge we are WORTHY
Unleash the pressure of our own grip
Step back and give ourselves a break
Embrace the life we have with Joy!
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://





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.”

%d bloggers like this: