Book Blog - Eyes on Heaven Feet on Earth

Eyes on Heaven Feet on Earth Part 1 – Chapter 2 – Evidence of Him

CHAPTER 2 – Copyright 2023 Carla J. Wood

Evidence of Him

All throughout my history
Your faithfulness has walked beside me
The winter storms made way for spring
In every season, from where I’m standing

I see the evidence of Your goodness
All over my life, all over my life
I see Your promises in fulfillment
All over my life, all over my life


By Ed Cash, Josh Baldwin, and Ethan Hulse

I was born in 1961 to newly committed first generation Christians who were eager to point us children to Jesus yet were struggling to figure out how to lead a Christian family in the last half of the 20th century. My parents liked to tell me God really wanted me to live because, after 36 hours of labor, without an epidural, my mother lost it and they had to knock her out and push on her belly to push me out. I was born completely purple/blue and my great Aunt Anne, the nurse on call, was afraid I would have brain damage. While some would like to call me crazy, I didn’t have brain damage, but was the ugliest baby I have ever seen. Really!

Due to financial problems, I spent the first six months of my life living with my parents from Friday night to Sunday evening, then at my Grandma Barkley’s from Sunday night to Friday evening. I bonded deeply with my grandmother who had always wanted a little girl. My mother, already struggling with a mental illness, probably from her childhood trauma and/or a high functioning autism, did not bond with me. While growing up, I knew there was a wall between me and my mom but didn’t understand why until I had my first child, Shawn, and she told me about our first six-month separation and how blessed I was to be able to stay home with my baby. This sad lack of bonding would be what would later push me deeper into the arms of Jesus in my childhood.

One of my earliest memories involves our move from Seattle to Santa Maria, California. Along the way we stopped at hotel for the night. Mom stayed in the room with my baby sister, Carolyn, and Dad took me to the pool. He visited with some other travelers while I played on the corner steps of the pool. I slipped into the water and, twirling around, clearly saw the drain at the bottom of the pool. It seemed to me I was floating down towards the drain. Fear was not part of this experience; instead, I felt peaceful, but it was seasoned with a little concern that I might go right down that drain. This experience of peace came back to me clearly when Taylor drowned and was a great comfort to me. Dad noticed I was not on the steps and reached in for my hand. While in the water, I didn’t sense I could not breathe, but as he lifted me out, the choking began. After clearing my lungs, I asked, “Daddy, who pulled the plug?”


We lived in California for two years, then moved back to Seattle because my dad’s father, Grandpa Matt had a stroke and Grandma needed help with his care. I loved being close to the two people who I had spent most of my beginning of life with.

For the first nine years of my life, aside from our California years, I grew up in a wonderful grace-filled Bible-believing church in southwest Seattle. It was a loving, caring, fun, musical church and my dad was one of the worship leaders, playing his trumpet when not singing. This church taught in a real-life way how much God loves us, no matter what, and how to walk with Jesus in His truth. I knew unconditional love in this church and others to come.

During my first Vacation Bible School experience, at the age of five, our pastor taught our Bible lessons. It was the summer of 1967, and I was completely taken with the fact that Jesus loved me so much that he died and suffered so I could go to Heaven someday. I remember thinking my pastor was so kind to share that with me. I pondered the rest of the day how amazing it was that a loving God would send his Son for me. He cared for me as an individual and wanted to be my best friend! I couldn’t wait for prayer time that night.

“Mommy, I want to ask Jesus to be my friend. I want to go to Heaven!” With my mom’s quiet tears flowing, we kneeled near my bed, and I told Jesus I was sorry for my sins and wanted to go to Heaven. I could tell Mom’s tears were happy tears and even at that young age, the Spirit showed me why she was happy. Shortly after this, I would experience Mom’s joy myself.

We didn’t have a television, but our neighbor lady did. I thought it strange when my mom mentioned to her that she wanted to see Billy Graham that night. We usually went to my grandparents’ house when we wanted to watch something. The kind lady was not particularly interested in Billy Graham, but perhaps she was a little curious – in any event, she was kind enough to let my mom and me watch the preacher on her TV. Before we left for her house Mom sat me down and suggested we pray to ask Jesus to touch our neighbor’s heart when she heard Billy Graham speak. That sounded good to me, but I wasn’t sure this lady would listen. She was nice so I doubted she would need Jesus. My Grandma didn’t like to talk about God either, but she was a good lady. I had been concerned that Grandma and Grandpa, and people like our neighbor would not get to go to Heaven. It seemed to me that people who were pretty good on their own didn’t feel like they needed Jesus.

 For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son so that anyone who believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16 TLB

At the end of the show, when Billy prayed the sinner’s prayer, our neighbor bowed her head and asked Jesus right then and there to be her Lord. I was amazed. Jesus let me be a part of sharing His love and I liked that. I began to pray even more for my grandparents and family who weren’t sure what to do with Jesus.

Two months later, my Grandpa Matt had another stroke. He was moved to their home from the hospital after a couple weeks. Then for my birthday, I opened my grandparents’ memorable gift next to Grandpa’s in-home hospital bed. Grandpa Matt and Grandma Bernice gave me a beautiful shiny floral raincoat, rain hat, boots, and matching umbrella. These were very necessary items for Seattle school girls. I loved my outfit, mostly because Grandpa and Grandma gave it to me. However, I had just seen Mary Poppins that year and knew that if God wanted me to, I could fly with my umbrella. I prayed before one windy school day that Jesus would help me fly just a little. Waiting for the crossing guard at the school corner, the wind was blowing hard. “This is it!” I told my friend. I caught some wind under my umbrella and really believed I lifted off the ground. I’m not sure if I did, or just slid off the curb, but I believed my umbrella was very special because my grandparents gave it to me.

A couple days later, Grandpa got very sick. His liver was failing, and he entered the hospital again. A week before Christmas, our pastor accompanied my parents to the hospital on December 18th. He asked Grandpa if he believed in Jesus and wanted to go to Heaven. Grandpa cried, nodded his head, smiled and a few minutes later took his next breath in Heaven.

When Dad came home and told me what happened, I was really happy for Grandpa. He got to be with Jesus! I couldn’t understand why Grandma was so sad and didn’t like Christmas very much that year. I tried to help her understand but of course as a child, I didn’t understand her sorrow – and she didn’t understand my hope. We both did understand, however, that we loved each other, and we grew even closer as she kept me each day after school and on holidays. I never stopped praying she would make Jesus her best friend. Now, I’m in awe of how much faith I had when a man, whom I loved so deeply was taken from me.

Soon after this, my faith began to grow as I saw God moving in my life. I began to look for more opportunities to see what God would do and how I could help Him.

Book Blog - Eyes on Heaven Feet on Earth

Eyes on Heaven Feet on Earth Part 1 Chapter 1 Praise You in this Storm

CHAPTER 1 – Copyright 2023 – Carla J. Wood

Praise You in This Storm

And I’ll praise You in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
And every tear I’ve cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

Praise You in This Storm

Written by: Bernie Herms, John Mark, Mark Hall

Saturday, July 20, 2013

On a blistering hot summer day, I sat watching a detective show while waiting to pick up our youngest of four and only daughter, Bethany, from her new barista job. We planned to drive together to a late afternoon wedding in a little town near our home of Boise, Idaho. In the heat of our non-air-conditioned home, I decided to ignore my frazzled house and just relax. My husband of almost 30 years, Gary, had left home in the wee hours of the morning for his 12-hour day shift at the power company. Our eldest son Shawn and his wife Angela, who had recently moved in with us with their sweet baby, Josie, were enjoying a family day at home and catching up on laundry. Drew, our third son, waited for Shawn to take him to his afternoon shift at the sandwich shop. Our newly married second born, 23-year-old Taylor, was river surfing on the Boise River. His recent Maui honeymoon had inspired our always-adventurous son to find a way to surf landlocked Idaho. His wife Michelle was planning a celebratory dinner for Taylor and his friends after the river surf adventure. Earlier that week I’d cautioned him to wear a life jacket during this newest crazy adventure, but he’d assured me there was no need for worry. My life of parenting was a constant practice of trusting God with Taylor, who had been cliff diving and undertaken several other wild pursuits that would give any parent cause for alarm.

The anticipation of seeing Taylor and Michelle the following day floated in the forefront of my mind as I thought about attending another wedding, just about a week after our new couple returned from their honeymoon. I was excited and eager to hear about their trip, see their photos from Hawaii and receive the gifts they’d brought home for us.

Later, driving to pick Bethany up for this wedding of our children’s good friend, I reveled in the new memory of Taylor and Michelle’s wedding less than a month earlier. Many who attended the event noted that the wedding seemed “magical.” I labeled it a “holy-anointed-joy-filled evening”. It was the happiest day of my life! A strange statement to say in light of all the good things God had given to me, but never before had I felt such joy. At the time, I even remember thinking This must be what the joy in Heaven will be like.

When we arrived at our friend’s wedding location, Bethany and I roamed around the beautiful riverside setting, eager to see that radiant look on the bride that we had so recently seen on Michelle. Like Michelle, our friend had planned a lovely outdoor wedding. Looking around, I envied the owners of the wedding event center, which boasted two houses, ponds fed by the Boise River and landscaping that would compete well with any English country garden.

My friend, and high school principal of our school, came and sat by us. I had been the music teacher and worship leader for years at our Christian elementary campus, and I was waiting for approval from her and the superintendent to become the worship director for both campuses. With school starting in just three weeks, anxiety for me (a planner by nature) was rising, but patience in waiting on God’s perfect timing was something I had been learning.

But as we got caught up on our summer activities and news, the secondary principal surprised me by giving me the much-hoped-for news that I would indeed be worship director for both campuses. After six months of studying worship and thanksgiving at a deeper level, I was elated at the opportunity to take my new vision of worship and what I’d learned about God to the students at the secondary campus. I had taught most of them from kindergarten through grade school and cried every year when they left sixth grade – I was ecstatic to now be allowed to “grow up” with my older “graduates.” I would soon find out why my study of worship was so important in my life.

With my heart full of joy, we enjoyed a beautiful spirit-filled wedding ceremony. Afterward, Bethany went to get a cool drink, and I visited with the bride’s family. Her cousin Tom had just been killed in Afghanistan, an event that had shaken all of my children who attended school with him. Tom’s aunt was about to introduce me to his mother, when suddenly, out of the sea of happy faces, our eldest son, Shawn – who had not attended the wedding – appeared stiffly in front of me.

“Where’s Bethany?” he asked. I pointed to where she was, and he said, “Go over to that porch, Mom, and wait for us.”

I waited only a few seconds, but a whole novel of thoughts raced through my mind as something obviously was wrong. I knew it was probably Taylor. After all, hadn’t Gary and I had dreams about him drowning? But I had prayed he wouldn’t drown in Maui, and he didn’t even have a close call. Maybe I didn’t pray enough this week. But I did give him to God, so it can’t be that. Or maybe it was just a fire at the house, and no one was hurt. Or maybe someone was in an accident, but they would be okay, and we just needed to get the hospital and pray and see God glorified in their healing. Was it Gary? He had high blood pressure. But in my heart, I knew it was Taylor… because all his life, God had been preparing me to let him go.

Shawn found Bethany and they came together to the stairs of the old farmhouse where I was standing. Shaking, Shawn slowly explained to both of us.

“Mom, you need to sit down.” I sat obediently, knowing it wouldn’t matter if I was standing or sitting.

“There was an accident on the river and Taylor is gone.”

“Is he at the hospital? Is he on life support?”

“No, Mom, he drowned. A policeman is in the parking area ready to take us to the hospital.”

Bethany and I both cried out. “No! No!” In complete shock, we hugged each other. Almost immediately, I felt we had to go to be with Michelle, Gary, and the rest of our family.

But first, I needed people praying. I had to tell my principal friend why we were leaving. Running to her, it seemed I was in a nightmare. I couldn’t move fast enough, the reality was a foggy wave, then it slammed me again as my head throbbed.

“Kim! Taylor drowned and he’s dead!” There – I said it! It pierced my heart.

I don’t know what she said in response. She was in disbelief too. It was such a shocking thing to happen.  Tom’s aunt saw me and asked what was wrong. I remember telling her that it was crazy, but that our son had just died. I apologized that we had to leave the wedding and left to cross the acre of garden between me and the parking lot. Holding hands with both Bethany and Shawn, I felt someone run up behind me and tap me on the back. Theresa – the mother who had just lost her son – hugged me, crying, and said she’d be praying for us.

Arriving in the dirt parking lot, we walked past my van. As you would expect, I wasn’t allowed to drive it because I was in shock.  Standing next to the police SUV was an officer, who was also a respected parent and friend from our school. This first kiss from God in this tragedy – He sent a familiar face who understood our faith and our family. I sat in the front, Shawn and Bethany in the back. We headed to the hospital.

From my recent deep journey in worship and thanksgiving, I knew it was imperative that I pray and worship our Lord in that police car before anything else because I knew in His presence was the only place I would find peace.

“Father, we thank you for the strength you promised us. We thank you that Taylor trusted your Son as his Savior and is with you. Please be with us. Be with Michelle. Oh, Michelle! Carry us through this storm. Help us and be glorified as we trust you with Taylor.”

After that prayer, I knew this was where the rubber met the road; I had to make a clear decision to trust God and commit to basing all my responses on that defined truth. I drew a line in the sand with my soul and knew on which side I was standing.

Jesus, now is the time for me to decide if everything you have promised me, everything you taught me and everything I have taught others is what I really believe… Yes! I believe it and just like Job, I will praise you no matter what. I know you are in control; my son is in Heaven, and many will be saved and changed from this. I know now, from my birth, that you have prepared me for this moment. The enemy will not have victory in this! You will be glorified in this!

Many who have had near death experiences say their whole lives flashed before them as they remembered all the key events of their time on earth. Realizing that my son’s body was dead, in that moment in an SUV, my mind was fixed on God’s eternal love as my spirit experienced a confirming flash of all the promises and truths the Lord had planted in my heart since I had made him my best friend 46 years prior, almost to the day.

Book Blog - Eyes on Heaven Feet on Earth

Eyes on Heaven Feet on Earth – Dedications, Acknowledgements and Preface

Eyes on Heaven, Feet on Earth – Copyright 2023 by Carla J. Wood

By Carla Barkley Wood

Dedicated in Memory of our amazing Heaven-residing son, Taylor, who taught us how to love and see people the way Jesus does while he lived life to fullest, not taking any moment for granted.

And to My Family

My servant hearted husband Gary, who loves Jesus and me and has walked life with me for 43 years, supported my ministry, and gave me four beautiful children.

My loving earth-bound children, Shawn, Andrew, Bethany and my lovely daughters-in-love, Angie and Michelle, who all have loved me through the pain and joy and seem to have a gift for making beautiful memories with me along the way.

To my precious granddaughter, Josie, who is my sidekick, delight, and constant source of joy every day. God knew we would need her when we needed joy the most.

To my four parents, my dad – Dan, bonus mom – Mary Lou, bonus dad – John, and mom – Vivian, who loved me and pointed me to Jesus despite their messes in life. Before Mom and bonus Dad John went to be with Jesus a few years ago, they all gave me permission and the blessing to talk in this book plainly about our “not-so-perfect family”. They recognized that God had redeemed their past and wanted me to share God’s hand of grace in our whole family. All four of my parents not only loved us children but they loved each other as sisters and brothers in Jesus. Carolyn, Matt, Candi, Garren and I are so glad God brought us siblings together.
A true miracle of God in a divorced/remarried family.


All honor and thanks to my perfect family, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit for painting a story of His goodness in my life.

With deep gratitude to my prayer teams for their editing, support and input into editing and giving feedback in my story. Diane, Evin, Grace, Missy, Cheri, Janice, and Karen.
I couldn’t have made it without your support.


I love Your voice
You have led me through the fire
In the darkest night
You are close like no other
I’ve known You as a Father
I’ve known You as a friend
I have lived in the goodness of God

And all my life You have been faithful
All my life You have been so so good
With every breath that I am able
Oh I will sing of the goodness of God

Goodness of God
Written by: Jason Ingram, Brian Johnson, Ed Cash, Ben Fielding, Jenn Johnson

This is the story of God’s fingerprints in my life, most say in unique ways, which prepared me for the worst day our family has ever experienced.

I started this book nine years ago. During that time, in the lows, I felt I couldn’t share the story until the “Happy Ending” could be told. I’ve waited and found quite a few happy ways to end the book, only to have another tragedy enter our lives. I soon realized that life is a roller coaster of joys and sorrows and I now truly understand that the only final “Happy Ending” happens in Eternity.

When I asked myself what the purpose of my book is, many thoughts were considered. I prayed today and asked God to reveal a clear purpose.  After meeting a new friend tonight who lost a son and reflecting on our shared stories of God’s hand in our grief, I realized that the simple purpose is to just tell my story of the goodness of God in my life. So, I pray my story will somehow help others look for His fingerprints in their life and recognize His goodness in their lives as they learn to balance Heaven and Earth by finding great faith in their Creator while learning to accept their humanity and confirm their need for a Savior.

Therefore, we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So, we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 NIV

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Grandma’s Last Legacy: Perfect Love Banishes Fear

Grandma B and Me

Grandma B and Me

Today, 26 years ago, November 14, 1996, my Grandma Bernice, entered Heaven. This story has been in the forefront of my my heart in light of our current culture. Today on this anniversary seems to be the time to share it.

My grandma was a second mother to me. Caring for me for Sunday night through Friday evening for the first six months of my life, we developed a very tight bond – true unconditional love. I miss her everyday…

Grandma was known to all as a sweet, loyal, loving, generous, kind woman. She loved cooking and hosting our many family dinners and seeing all her loved ones at our annual very large family picnic – the fruit of her being the 12th child of 13!

She adored us grandkids and all her many nieces and nephews. She loved children and to me, her family, and friends always expressed unreserved love in ways that humble me. She also lived a modest life never over-indulging in anything. One shot of whiskey on New Year’s Eve was her annual limit. On Reno senior bus trips, she only took $200 for gambling and put it in her right pocket. She kept all her winnings in her left pocket and brought it home to take us all out for Chinese food. She built a legacy of selfless love and compassion.

Grandma said she believed in God, but even as a child, I could tell she didn’t know Him well or trust in Him. The evidence of this was that she lived in fear of almost everything. As an adult I can look back and see that she wanted everything planned perfectly to protect disarray, harm, and catastrophe. She was extremely fearful of water, having lost a sister to drowning, something I can also understand well.  

When Grandpa Matt died, I was just six years old with a deep newfound faith. Grandpa had given his heart completely to Jesus the week before he died. I was sad, but so happy he was in Heaven and didn’t understand Grandma’s deep grief and her obvious magnified fear from his death.

Her habit of fear also led to prejudice and disgust that was sometimes embarrassing to me. As a child I didn’t understand the contrast of her normally kind spirit with her unfair bias. She rarely spoke badly about anyone, except about people of color. A crime happened in her neighborhood when I was young. It involved a black man, so my normally dear sweet grandma was extremely fearful of and hateful to African Americans. When I lived with and near her, I would walk to school, most days the only white girl with my four friends, one Japanese, one Chinese and two African American girls. Grandma would freely let my white and Asian friends come and play, but sadly not my other two friends.

Most of my life was spent praying she would begin to know Jesus in a deeper way to eliminate her fear, prejudice, and pride, and replace them with hope and love.

Grandma Bernice was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1994. She fought hard and made it to 1996 when things turned worse. After a week sleeping near her in Swedish Hospital during radiation treatments in September 1996, I could see she would not live much longer. She was 91 years old with breast cancer that metastasized to her bones. We had some precious conversations that week about memories I will always cherish, but her increasing fear of death was the worst I had seen. Nothing I could say or do would give her peace during her moments of fright magnified by pain and medication side effects.

After 7 days, because we were in the middle of a big move back to Idaho, I had to leave to return to Gary and our four young children. I was devastated knowing I wouldn’t likely see her again. Leaving was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to do. The only thing I could do was call her daily and trust her in God’s hands.

Dad and Mama Mary Lou called me in October and told me she was home in the apartment below them and was being put on Hospice. They then took a deep breath with prolonged silence then added that an African American woman, Millie, was assigned to her care. Afraid of how Grandma might treat her, we all began to pray.

Around November 3rd, I got a call, and it was sweet Millie on the phone.

            “Carla, your grandma wants to tell you something.”

In a very weak voice with tears and an obvious new gentleness and sweet spirit, Grandma said, “Carla, I found Jesus and gave my heart to Him. Millie helped me. I love you, honey.”

            “Oh, Grandma, that’s so wonderful!”

We had a few more tears and precious words, talking about the hope of Heaven without any fear knowing she would be seeing Grandpa and her son, Rod soon. I then talked with Millie thanking her for being Jesus to Grandma. I asked her if she knew what a miracle this was and she sweetly laughed and said, yes!

I knew God had truly changed Grandma’s heart that day. In a million years, I never dreamed she would respond to Jesus because of a black woman’s love and kindness. Later, Millie told me Grandma never needed morphine from that day until the day she died, another special gift from God.

My sister was able to make it to her side just before she passed into Jesus’ arms. God showed our family the miracle of Grandma’s redeemed faith. It is a reminder of many things to me but especially the beauty that perfect love banishes fear and is a door to miracles – a legacy I pray I can be faithful to continue.

1 John 4:17-18   ~ The Message
God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we’re free of worry on Judgment Day—our standing in the world is identical with Christ’s. There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love.


On Earth as It Is in Heaven

* For all those who have suffered deep loss and question why…Even if you haven’t had a chance to get to know Jesus like I did as a young child, God is in the business of redemption and I’ve seen God catch up many people in time lost with Him.

A few times in the last nine years, people said they were amazed that I can be at peace with our son’s death, and not struggle with answers to prayers for healing for other people.  

The first thing I tell them is that I am not strong and daily, sometimes moment by moment, need to close my eyes, take a deep breath and ask Jesus to fill me with his healing love and power to make it through all the ramifications of our son’s death. However, when looking at the difficult question of why some people are healed on earth and some are healed in Heaven, I have these thoughts.

The answer is simple when you know God well and His ultimate plans for us. – Our faith. 

The answer is complicated when you throw human emotions and desires into the mix. – Our humanity. 

So how did I awkwardly traverse this emotional dilemma?

What helped me travel the road of grief was to spend time getting to know God and His plans, which started for me in 1971. When I was in the third grade, I met a family who had lost a child at a young age. I listened to Mrs. Childs explain to my mom how Jesus had helped them through his illness and death and how they trusted they would see him again one day.  

At that young age, I immediately said in my mind, not “if” but, “When I lose a child, I want to be like Mrs. Childs with my eyes on Jesus.” It was then I knew I’d lose a child one day! Why God decided to prepare me at such a young age, I don’t know. However, this epiphany started a long journey of being obsessed with reading my Bible, reading books on Heaven, watching other grieving parents, and getting to know my God who loved me so much He gave His Son to die for my sins. From my life experiences with God, others’ examples, and reading as much as I could, I knew He wouldn’t allow me to go through any terrible crisis alone. He would be there with me on earth and with my child in Heaven. 

So, nine years ago today, when Taylor drowned in the Boise River, I knew Jesus reached down into the water with His hand to lead our son to the most beautiful place in the universe, with Him. Taylor was truly in a better place, and I had peace in my excruciating pain. When I struggle with his death, I go back to the image of him holding Jesus’ hand walking over the waves of the river, or of him dancing around the throne of God in worship, or him resting beside some Heavenly river.

A few months after Taylor went to Heaven, one of my junior high worship team students begged us to sing Oceans by Matt Crocker, Joel Houston and Salomon Ligthelm. I knew the song and didn’t think I could get through it without crying deeply. My students were already used to me crying when talking about God or Taylor, so seeing Emily’s eagerness to sing this song, I let it go to the students and they took off with it. We sang it for months and each phrase of those lyrics were a gentle balm of healing to my heart, taking my trust in Taylor’s Creator to a deeper level. I could envision Jesus lifting him out of the water with Taylor singing in his struggle,  

You call me out upon the waters 
The great unknown where feet may fail 
And there I find You in the mystery 
In oceans deep 
My faith will stand 
And I will call upon Your name 
And keep my eyes above the waves 
When oceans rise 
My soul will rest in Your embrace 
For I am Yours and You are mine…” 

This is not to say the human side of me and the pain it has brought our family has not been miserable. Watching my husband and other children suffer from this lost has been as painful as Taylor’s death. My heart felt stabbed and twisted with a knife when our eldest son had to tell us Taylor was gone. There were a couple years of searing pain missing him, and now it gently aches today typing those words with the common soft tears that still flow, but I’ve learned that joy and sorrow can dance together, and we can be content on earth when God chooses to heal on earth or in Heaven.  He is God and I am not.

Three days after his death, one of his friends asked if we could lay hands on his body and go before God to ask for Taylor to be resurrected like Lazarus, so we did. I was hopeful but doubtful knowing that God had been preparing me for his death for 41 years. However, in that prayer time, our family and Taylor’s wife and friends committed to glorify God in a miracle of resurrection or trust Him if He chose, instead, to be glorified in our hope with grief should Taylor remain in Heaven. At the end of our allotted time in the funeral home, I felt a deep peace and the hands of the Holy Spirit gently rested on my shoulders whispering to me, “It will be okay.” I knew then that Taylor, being healed in Heaven, was God’s very best for our son and God would walk with us through the mess of grief on Earth.

When our friends and family are healed on earth, we greatly rejoice! We get to have them with us and we know God has great plans for them on this planet. But when they are healed in Heaven, we can still greatly rejoice knowing they have received the best gift of healing in the finest place of all.  

Until then, we live as humans, struggling at times with our feet on earth, peaceful in our spirits with eyes on our Heavenly hope.  

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God’s Diversions Bring Surprising Blessings: Moments Part 1

Ever had one of those really frustrating weeks where everything is going wrong? I know, stupid question. It happens to all of us. Well, I had a royal frustrating 10 days that ended up with God intervening with a beautiful kiss of blessing and patience… 

 My computer quit working, I got the wrong part, then our swimming pool chemistry developed into a royal green mess while we were on vacation. I had to reschedule swim play dates for my granddaughter.  After spending a ton of time, money and canceling the rescheduled play dates, I messed up the pool protocol the first time I did it. I was at my rope’s end having to go back to the swimming supply store and send a computer part back through the UPS store.  

On top of it all, I was wrestling with God about some serious prayer requests that He didn’t seem to be answering. Added to that was feelings of guilt for being ungrateful in the whole mess. I really was acting like a child with my reactions to all these distractions in my life.  

So, last Thursday, I drove to the UPS store and pool supply store later than planned and took longer than expected buying more pool chemicals, so instead of going into another parking lot to buy milk at my usual Fred Meyer, I decided to save time and walk next door to Albertsons for milk before heading home.  

Walking through the door, I glanced at the first checker to my left and stared in disbelief. There stood a missionary and former special student of mine, Breanna, who had been suffering and close to dying with a bizarre infection in Asia for the past two months. I knew she was doing better and had just arrived back in Boise, but never expected to see her out and about walking with her usual beautiful smile. You can imagine my emotions exploding to actually see, in physical form, the answer to my prayers and those of so many others around the world. Of all the places and timing, for me to see her, this truly was a gift from my merciful patient God.  


I ran to her, we hugged, cried, and laughed, making quite a scene, while hearing her Boise doctor had given her a good report that day. The checker, a lady about my age, stood with an amazed questioning look. I explained that Breanna was an answer to my prayers after being so sick in Asia. Then Breanna adding to the story, left the woman almost speechless and in awe with her eyes wide hearing the brief powerful story of God’s healing.  

As I walked to the car, Jesus whispered in my heart, “I wanted you to touch this answer to prayer for Breanna so that you remember My power when you are bringing me all your requests and doubting my plans.” 

My swimming pool and computer messes were not just another bad set of circumstances for me to deal with; they were allowed by God to defer me onto a path that led to a great blessing for Breanna, me, and a stranger in Albertsons. It will be a continued reminder to me when I feel God is taking too long to answer my other prayers… 

Humbly Hopeful, 


Psalm 36:5-9 NIV 
Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens, 
    your faithfulness to the skies. 
Your righteousness is like the highest mountains, 
    your justice like the great deep. 
    You, Lord, preserve both people and animals. 
How priceless is your unfailing love, O God! 
    People take refuge in the shadow of your wings. 

They feast on the abundance of your house; 
    you give them drink from your river of delights. 
For with you is the fountain of life; 
In your light we see light. 

Carla's Blogs


I tested positive for COVID-19 early in September 2021. While I’m sure I was not even close to being the sickest patient in the hospital, I was still very sick and scared, especially having friends who started out ill like me and ended up dying. I was not afraid of dying and going to Heaven to see Jesus, our second son Taylor, and many others. I was just not ready to leave my earthly family yet. As always, in my greatest need, God was there with me.

He has used COVID-19 to give me so many gifts, one of which is the last chapter of my book. I won’t share the whole story now – spoilers are a bummer for the last chapter – but I feel it’s critical now that I share the story of the most important gift of all, God Himself, and how He and the prayers of so many led me to healing through worship.

The 5th night I felt so alone and abandoned by God. It was a horrible night with crippling fears that my husband and daughter sick at home could die. Day and night I had many times of hyperventilating and panicking because I couldn’t breathe. It was difficult to keep my oxygen in the safe zone, and I wondered if I’d ever see my family again, including our other two sons Andrew and Shawn and their families. I cried out to God and He reminded me how I made it through our son Taylor’s death, in worship with gratitude. I was a worship leader at the time and positioned exactly where I needed to be during that tragic time.

While singing is not necessary to worship God, and despite my breathless condition, I felt God telling me it was okay to sing even though it seemed impossible at the time. Before COVID-19, my paralyzed vocal cord was giving me so much trouble that I could barely sing at all. With the memory of other miracles reminding me of His faithfulness, I decided to trust Him and pulled up my favorite worship song list. I knew immediately the best song was Breathe by Michael W. Smith.

I started… This is the air I breathe… I was able to sing the first line, then carefully walked through the next lines. With my confidence in Him working in me building, I stepped into a true place of worship, amazed at how much the gift He was giving me caused me to love Him more.

Then, moving into the lines And I…am desperate for You… I’m lost without You I began weeping because it was in that moment – I knew at a depth beyond any other moment in my life – I truly am nothing without my Creator, and yet I am so deeply loved by Him. It was only because of His grace and mercy, He thought it best for me on that morning to be alive. He was waiting for me to truly surrender my whole literal life and Bethany’s and Gary’s lives to God. That meant He could choose to heal us on earth or in Heaven. I surrendered all my continued earthly dreams to him and felt such a load of heaviness off my chest. A deep peace settled in the room… I wasn’t alone. I was in awe I could sing almost the whole song without coughing!

As if to make sure I believed He was looking out for me, the next song that popped up on the list was another Michael W. Smith song, Way Maker. Being reminded, in case I’d forget, that He is here, working in this place… a way maker, miracle worker, promise keeper, light in the darkness… I felt hope growing even more. Not to mention what I really needed, in the darkness of that night alone, was to tell Him,

Even when I don’t see it, You’re working
Even when I don’t feel it, You’re working,
You never stop, You never stop working,
You never stop, You never stop working…

These words were added power to His air He was breathing into me.

I continued to listen throughout the day to my song lists, not always able to sing along, but my spirit was singing. After each nap, I woke with one of them playing in my head, feeling so loved immediately in my loneliness. It was so beautiful.

My healing began accelerating that day, as well, and over the next few days my oxygen levels gradually stabilized, preparing me to leave the hospital. In addition, my hand which had been partially paralyzed from the illness started to heal – before I left the hospital I was able to start opening it again. Today I can type normally, and this morning I hand wrote in my journal. Healing began when I was at the weakest point of my entire life, and it began in the center of the purest worship I have ever experienced.

The most precious gift of this experience is the deeper understanding I now have of the gospel of Jesus, after 55 years of following Him. Because of sin in the world, I truly am nothing, not even physically alive, without my Savior Jesus and His loving act of dying on the cross for my sins bringing me life on earth and in Heaven.

Going back and reading my last sentence doesn’t do justice for what I feel, but I hope and pray you can experience His love in exactly the way you need, to see Him more clearly in your life.

I’m sharing my favorite song list here, hoping maybe you can wake up with one of these songs in your mind each morning, stepping into a time of worship you won’t forget. I did this morning and was able to sing again today! Thank you, Jesus!

Breathe – Michael W. Smith

Way Maker – Michael W. Smith

What a Beautiful Name-Agnus Dei – Travis and Lilly Cotrell

Is He Worthy – Chris Tomlin

Agnus Dei/King of Kings – Brook Ligertwood, Jenn Johnson, & Chidima Uubah

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.

Praise the Lord.

Psalm 150:6

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In the Waiting

8 years in Heaven. My eyes are fixed on eternity and my heart is happy Taylor gets to be in the perfect place of peace and joy with Jesus, my mom, stepdad, grandparents, friends, cousins and so many more.

8 years on Earth. My feet are on earth and my heart is at peace yet aching. I’ve spent the last two years learning to be human. I’ve ached missing my son, ached for the struggles my earthbound family and friends have had to endure. This year I’ve experienced more loss, physical pain and loss of sleep. I’ve ached for our planet, our country, our new way of life, transitions, change, confusion and polar disagreements. We have new fears all around us that we fight every day.

After I shared my hope on the I Choose Hope encouragement program our local radio set before us in November, I was hit with my humanity. January through June, God was silent in my life. Our nephew’s wife, baby boy, and his sister-in-law were killed in a car accident.  There were days, with the fog of an average two hours asleep, I wished I had not woken up on earth. Knowing my lack of sleep was causing the lies to penetrate my mind, I chose to get up and wait on the Lord as I cried out to him for help. I had just publicly shared why and how I chose hope yet I was at the worst possible place of losing hope I had ever experienced. I felt like a failure as a cheerleader in loss.

Yet, one thing remained: His faithfulness in my past, gave me confidence in the silence, pain, and chaos. I knew it would not be forever and I realized I had to intentionally position myself for hope and healing and wait for hope to return.

  • I sought medical help for sleep and pain and listened to my body pacing myself.
  • I positioned myself to hear God’s voice and rest in Him daily, listening, without expectations, trying not to hear something that would fill my book or give me something to teach others, but just be with Him in the moment to receive His love.
  • I positioned myself to be with people that are struggling in their humanity with their eyes fixed on eternity. I entered an online prayer group when I couldn’t go out to be with people in person. Going back to church has been like a bubble of joy each week this past month and totally changed my view of life on earth. My friends I’ve confided in have been a lifeline to me.
  • I practiced joy with our granddaughter as I homeschooled her, even when I didn’t feel like it.
  • I treasured, loved and leaned on my precious family, accepting the help and love of others, and stopped trying to always be the strong one. Gary and our kids have been loving and supportive. Homeschooling our granddaughter gave me even more reason to get up and have spots of joy throughout each day.

I am now finding physical healing and joy in life, despite continuing struggles my family and friends have.

I have hope knowing that Jesus has overcome the world, even though we don’t see it every day. “He never stops working”. He is a “Waymaker”. His plan still prevails and many times I don’t understand why it’s taking so long to see results I want to see.

However, like my stepdad, John, who was in a wheelchair taught me, we can do anything for 3 days, 3 weeks, 3 months and I’ll add, 3 years. I can make it with Jesus, my husband, children and friends and family, knowing the end of the story is very happy.

Recently, my friend and our I Choose Hope cheerleader at KTSY, Brian Yeager, shared on the radio about his own struggles and gave me a visual on waiting that really helped me through a rough week. His honesty gave me courage to be honest with you. (Used by permission.)

“The stresses of life, finances, family, life, all of it. The weight was heavy. I was dragging and my silly workout routine had kicked it up. I was STRUGGLING. I was DRAGGING.

I know, we’re not supposed to SAY THAT! I choose hope! I’m supposed to be happy and on top of it all the time. But… I was not.

And that’s when my annoying workout app chirped in my ear, ‘You have, ONE MINUTE remaining.’ And I understood I choose hope. I didn’t FEEL any better. It was NOT a good day. But, I had one minute of this workout left. I was almost done.

This is I Choose Hope. It’s knowing there’s an end, and the end is good – and it’s coming – even when things are tough. When things are dark. There’s one minute left…This isn’t over.”

Brian’s words reminded me at a deeper level, we can make it and  it’s okay to struggle, but we can struggle with hope.

I have hope that, in the waiting, I will see our Taylor and dance and laugh again with him in Heaven and our Savior who made a way for us to be together. God is whispering to me now letting me know, once again, He is really here in the waiting close to my side.

He is in the business of redemption, and will restore all things in His perfect timing.

Hold on to this!

Please, no matter where you are in your journey in this crazy world, choose hope and call out to Jesus, even if you aren’t sure He is there.

So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 – The Message Bible

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One Way to Organize Homeschool Student Work

Each homeschool mom will develop their own organization plan, but this two part plan works best for me with weekly planning and my accountability to another teacher.

Part 1 – Notebook:

In this notebook, I first let my student color or create their own binder cover. (To be colored today on the first day of school).

Binder Organization:

Inside the binder, I place the weekly outline in the front pocket. I’ve also put online class times in my google calendar with alarms so I don’t space the most important time of the class day.

Next I used pocket binder dividers labeled for each subject. In the front pockets I place all worksheets and any printouts for the week, with paperclips separating each day if there are more than one worksheet. In the pocket on the back of each divider, my student will place any unfinished work to be done at the end of the school day.

Tab Closeup –

Part 2 – Turned in Work

I just simply make file folders for each subject to place any work that has been submitted to the online teachers. Cyber space (and an absentminded grammie) can lose uploaded work once in a while, so I want to make sure I always have this as a backup. I’ve also included a file for scrapbook special work or journal pages as I’m making a “yearbook” for our granddaughter this year.

Happy Homeschooling!


1 Corinthians 13: Our Son’s Paraphrase for Such a Time as This

July 20th, a day we all float through with so many emotions. On this 7th anniversary of Taylor’s homegoing, I’ve prayed about even posting anything this year. We have so much to rejoice about in this season with Gary finally almost healed from 9 weeks of pneumonia, just to name one great praise!

The ache is still there but the joy knowing Taylor made Jesus the Lord of his life and is in His presence is such an overwhelming picture of peace and joy for me. My sorrow and joy are still dancing together…yet I asked the Lord if there was something He wanted me to share.

While praying throughout the day about this yesterday, I was walking down the hall and saw a framed copy of Taylor’s version of 1st Corinthians 13 he wrote during his premarital counseling. Reading in the hallway, I realized his paraphrase is so apropos for the state of the world right now. They also represent how Taylor seemed to love better than most.

I pray it inspires you as it challenges me to step up in areas of my life where I am weak in love…

1 Corinthians 13

  • Real love is being calm and silent when our human nature wants everything instantly.
  • Love doesn’t allow us to want anything from what our loved ones have.
  • True love doesn’t let us show that we are better to another but humbles us to what others need or don’t have in life.
  • Love shows no difference in life’s classes, allowing everyone to be equal.
  • When we truly love, we don’t put others down in anyway. Instead we build them up.
  • Love doesn’t allow us to put ourselves first but put others in front of ourselves.
  • It is calm and relaxed throughout stress, frustration and hurt.
  • It forgives wrongs done to us & leaves the past problems in the past.
  • When we love legitimately, we stay away from evil and sinful practices & places.
  • It fights for the ones they love & even ones they don’t know.
  • It is believing no matter what your thoughts were at first, they are telling the truth if they say they are.
  • Love always is pushing for the best.
  • It always continues through hardships & trials.