Rather Resilient

Abuse Survivor, anxiety, confidence, contentment, courage, fear, hope, memoir, Redemption, Vulnerability, wonder

Behind the grill, in the corner there’s a collection of leaves, dirt, dust and a moth or two.

I paused this morning to see the sky. The air fixated, it seemed on one leaf. Brittle fern fronds on the floor like rose petals left for a lover and the one leaf, edges upturned and a little bigger than the others,

Sort of shimmering.

I know it’s strange, to be fascinated by a dried up leaf on a sleepy Saturday morning.

Was it healthy or close to decay? Was there a notice of it over the others that caused it to be the lonely one taking in the breeze

While the others were still?

Had given in to decay.

I turn 62 next week.

There are unforeseen health things.

All in a matter of a couple of weeks. There’s the dental stuff that triggers childhood shame. There’s the inflamed knee that pains me and odd or maybe not, I’m unable to kneel to pray.

There’s the diagnosis of high blood pressure that I’m disputing, watching and waiting.

Because I think it’s anxiety.

There’s all this stuff that points to aging and old things and to the trauma of losing parents before they were old.

Someone I love told me of an emergency room visit and how it triggered her. I told her “no wonder” and asked how she recovered.

She told me it was just a few days ago. She’s getting better.

And not by crazy shaming of self “get it together” because

It’s not the same and that was so long ago.

Instead, by accepting her emotions and not shaming herself about them.

Letting the sorrow and fear revisit and then go their way.

This is now.

You are here. This felt like that, but it isn’t.

All the leaves have now been swept away together. The resilient one mixed in with the ones unbothered by the wind are in the yard with the pine straw and mulch.

Strange that I’d notice a crinkled leaf first thing.

Or not strange at all.

Rather,

resilient.

Glad In Them

Angels, bravery, Children, contentment, daughters, family, grandchildren, hope, memoir, Trust, Vulnerability, wonder

I didn’t expect to be emotional.

I thought, I think… this is good, no surprise, exciting, you get a break to paint or to do whatever.

But, that’s okay. Last days are good, are meant to be noticed and honored.

Remembered.

Honored with the grace of two breezy morning walks, odd finds, two morning glory flowers, yellow leaves and some important to remember instructions about songs.

Today had me thinking of last days, last things.

Odd, some may say, but I miss the meetings when I offered up my space and the mothers, fathers, friends and others who introduced themselves with the story of the loved one who chose suicide.

I don’t miss the stories, I miss the significance of their sharing. I miss being invited to join them. I miss showing up.

I don’t miss the trying to turn left from Aiken Middle School’s exit to take my son home, but I miss my on the cusp of manhood son and his four or five tightly knit rascally buddies with baseball on their minds and ambition on their fearless shoulders.

I don’t miss walking into my daughter’s room and discovering the clothes explosion covering the floor hasn’t given me a path that’s clear, but I miss her just down the hall, I miss climbing into her tiny bed to talk.

I don’t miss the DFCS court days and the half-hearted or no show biological parents intent on being defended just for the happenstance chance of maybe the judge will give us a fourth chance. But, I surely miss the children, the ones I advocated for and often buckled into my car if “on call”.

I don’t miss the home visits that scared me s**tless, but I treasure the eyes that met mine and saw concern, an unspoken love and hope that life could be better.

I don’t miss board of directors meetings or foreboding financials, but I do miss the allegiance and commitment together to mental health.

I still get the “seriously?” looks when I retell the reason I retired, a child welfare and nonprofit leader, at 58 years old.

I made a promise to my daughter. My mama did the same. I’ll share the responsibilities with my “tag team” other grandmother (“Gamma”) and I will help care for my daughter’s daughter.

By the way, do you know the importance of the first three years of a child as far as strong love and bonding?

It’s important. They’re important.

The one I call, “Morning Glory”, the one who told me today,

“Grandma, you and the baby can find morning glories and you can’t sing “Rise and Shine”, that’s Gamma’s song.

Yours is “Jesus loves Me”!’”

The grandbaby I retired early for begins pre-school on Thursday.

Today was my last 5:15 a.m. alarm to arrive and send off to work my Literacy Coach daughter.

It was special.

Today and Monday.

Who knew, Elizabeth, God or had they talked already?

She added wings to an angel drawn with a stick in the sand. We decided dragonflies and butterflies are cousins. She told me my hair is long, long like her mama. She asked me to braid her hair and she told me she had a “happy” dream, a slide went into heaven and there were children there and it was beautiful.

She told me “Jesus, is up, up, up and way, way up there.”

And when I asked, she was smart enough to know my crazy hoping for the reply so spectacular,

“Have you seen Jesus?”

“Well, no,” she answered. “He isn’t down here, he’s up there…the rocks haven’t been moved again.”

Yeah, I had no words.

I listened. Again, listened.

I pushed her in the swing too small, sized for the baby because she wanted to be little.

Then, we got all gussied up and had salad for lunch and frozen strawberry slushy ice cream.

Oh, and we got shoes, red ones for school.

No matter the mood, red shoes can change it, right?

Today was my last “grandma day”, not for long, just a break or as needed.

I told Elizabeth I wanted it to be special.

This last day of 5:30 rising and driving out to the country, the place I named “pretty”.

Walking with a tiny baby close to my chest to racing with a toddler in a princess dress, seeing who can find a feather, a rock, a weed that’s a flower and pausing in the shadow of “That’s your favorite tree, right, Grandma”?

She said, “Memories, Grandma.”

Yes. I said “Yes.”

Morning glories I’ll never let go.

“Never go backward, only forward.” Grandma Bette aka my mama

Elizabeth Lettie goes to preschool, excited and

I will be.

So will I.

In a book there are flowers, a feather, a seed pod we call gumdrop and a plan to print photos, put them in a book called “Morning Glories”

Stories, songs, smiles, schedules and little things that are still secrets between E., God and I.

These are days the Lord made. We have rejoiced and we have been glad in them.

This baby has changed me forever. They say it’s that way. No need to wonder. I’ll hold fast to what I believe.

Babies are God’s answer, saying

Life continues and life is good.

You’ll never pass this way again.

Continue and believe.

Stilled

Angels, confidence, contentment, Faith, grace, hope, memoir, mercy, Peace, Redemption, Vulnerability, wisdom, wonder

“because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high”
‭‭Luke‬ ‭1:78‬ ‭ESV‬‬

To ease into the end of yesterday, I sat on the steps of the pool. It’s one of “my things”.

I let the cool water calm my aching legs, notice my toes.

The clouds and tops of trees, a mirrored reflection for filtering my thoughts and pausing.

I listened to a meditation that led to being brave enough to believe in right next to me nearness of God.

I prayed, longingly and admittedly a tad half-heartedly

maybe it will be.

Eyes tightly squeezed, I felt warm tears stream down toward my chin. I opened my eyes and a butterfly danced then rested, yellow and payne’s gray paint color bordered.

The meditation ended.

I lingered, amazed yesterday evening.

The presence of God in a butterfly on an old overgrown shrub, the softness of its appearing, the grace of the the Amen,

It’s because of God’s tender love that you cried.

Were stilled.

Be still.

Stilled.

Remember and rise.

Be expectant. God is near.

Here’s the guided meditation app.

https://www.pauseapp.com/

Stories Told Lightly

Abuse Survivor, Art, confidence, contentment, courage, Faith, hope, memoir, Peace, Prayer, Redemption, testimony, Vulnerability, wisdom, writing

“And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
‭‭Luke‬ ‭7:50‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Given the choice, I prefer the quiet space alone. I love words, but prefer writing over speaking and even more so as I’m older and it’s showing evidence in both my appearance and ability.

I saw the sun on Monday morning and I thought of passages of Jesus coming to the gatherings, houses, and rescue of so many.

Healing as they welcomed him, restoring as they let Him in. Something about the sun on Monday caused me to wonder if Jesus ever wondered or even went back to say, “Who have you told about your healing?”

I wondered if the woman who had to stay home because of her bleeding happily began to sit and interact with others in the light of day. I wondered if the widow with the sparse amount of change she gave away kept living on little but with more happiness than any success could bring.

I wondered if the woman Jesus stopped the scribes from stoning spent all her days comforting other women who lost their way and needed to know life could change.

I’ve kept a piece of paper in my Bible since 2016, a sketch of an open book and a bullet list of why we all should tell our story.

Six years later, I’m surprised to even be asked.

But, I have and I have said “Yes.” The story is a more gentle one, not spattered with sorrow or bitter questions of why…it’s one of the tapestry of comfort in the form of art inspired by faith.

I’m grateful. I shared this morning as I move into this season of sharing and of learning.

Studying the lives of Sarai (Sarah) and Hagar is humbling me. Quick to be critical of Sarah and compassionate towards Hagar has always been my response to these women integral to God’s story. I even have notes in my Bible, all directed at mean old Sarah and as expected, feeling connected to Hagar, the one abused and shamed. I’m learning about culture back then, about many things.

I’ve got lots to learn as I prepare to follow through on a couple of requests I said yes to…neither of them sought by me. One in September and a second in October, sharing my story of how women in my Bible brought me back to painting and how their stories are teaching me.

I’ve got a whole lot more to learn, (I know I already said that 😊)how the love of God is not just for the beaten down women, but for the women who participated with words and actions against other women. It’s all about the power of God to redeem and the gentle call to us all…Come back, daughter.

There’s a bigger purpose for it all…pain, heartache, anger or regret. Hagar and Sarah experienced God’s love in equal measure. They were seen by God, completely.

I’ve got much more to learn and I’ve occasionally been corrected. That’s okay. I’m learning. But a sort of knock on my door came in the form of unexpected questions…can you guide women in your process of painting and speak on how connecting your art and faith has and is strengthening and changing you? Public speaking, live painting.😳

Honestly, it is frightening. I can write vulnerably about my journey and at one time I spoke quite often about the struggles of women, mental health and other things…it’d be a whole lot easier to keep sitting on the couch quietly drawing in my Bible or painting in the corner room in solitude or blogging occasionally.

But, maybe Jesus knocks and we let Him in and then He knocks again, saying come on out, let’s go and share, together let’s tell the story of the two of us in relationship. Let’s go and tell.

(I’ll be sharing more about the two events as the dates draw nearer.)

Continue and believe, learn and go.

Go in peace. You’ve been made well.

You have a story to tell.

Here Now

Abuse Survivor, anxiety, contentment, courage, memoir, Redemption, Stillness, surrender, traumatriggers, Vulnerability, wisdom, wonder
Keep Walking On

I pulled the brittle brown fronds from the weary looking ferns in the heavy heat of the day.

I’d watered the hydrangeas that bloomed rich cobalt blue last summer, but not so this season. I paused and looked out at the open field of green grass that was a sandy field last year. I couldn’t hear what she was saying but it seemed my granddaughter was instructing the dog “Eli” in some sort of life lesson.

And a thought came to me about me.

This season will soon be past, this Fall you’re gonna see its worth and it’s going to feel like an end to your grieving.

The thought seemed important, the timing of it unexpected, but welcomed.

I’m weary of myself. I think it’s time to acknowledge, I am here. This is now. I am not there or back then.

I am here.

Yesterday, God had me thinking about the man who couldn’t walk for 38 years and couldn’t get in the water to be healed. Today, I woke thinking of this healing after a night with a crazy/heavy dream…a dream that caused me to wonder (again) why “those things” happened to me.

“One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?” The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.” Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked.”
‭‭John‬ ‭5:5-9‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Just because I’m curious, I always want to know things like…well, once he walked after all that time did he think he might be a cripple again or like the woman bent over with a disability or the woman with the flow of blood for so many years…did they ask Jesus…why’d you allow this horrible thing in the first place and why’d you let it handicap me for so long?

These questions are nowhere (at least I haven’t found them) in my Bible.

Maybe the reason is simple, these questions are not beneficial to our strength and sanctification.

Maybe it’s that God knows we waste the purpose and value of our redemption when we gaze at our damaged places so much more than our deliverance.

When we think of our deliverance instead of God’s delay, we can live out our own healing and that healing offers hope to others…it never hinders their believing in that very same hope for themselves.

God is changing me here, sometimes it feels like I’m kicking and screaming in a gentle sulky rebellion; but, it’s a change that’s needed, a change that forgets the former and believes in the truth of promised new things.

One last thought, it’s not easy to stop focusing on your self in a time and culture that promotes self-obsession, self-promotion to be the best, and for me, self-absorption with the ever looming “why me?”

You are here. That was then. You’re not there.

Continue and believe.

Like She Told Me

Children, curiousity, daughters, Faith, family, grandchildren, love, Redemption, Salvation, wonder
Resting

She answered, “He is. I’m sure.”

Prayers are said, “Jesus Loves Me is my favorite”, she tells me when we talk about her songs.

It’s been the favorite for as long as her just over three years old.

There’s the song about the sun comin’ and the one that’s my favorite, three little birds outside my window happily reminding me every little thing’s gonna be alright.

But, “Jesus Loves Me” remains the three years running favorite.

We turned from dirt to pavement, up the hill on the way to town after noticing bright happy yellow faces of new sunflowers. I told her we’d walk tomorrow to see them up close and she gazed out the window decorated with stickers to tell me the trees were so green, maybe they’re full of blueberries.

We slowly move from country to town and she announces,

“I saw a raccoon yesterday…a big one.

It was in the road. Someone ran over it, keep looking Grandma, we might see it.”

I looked and remembered and told her that I’d seen a raccoon yesterday too.

The car became silent, my mirror told me she was thinking, dreaming, maybe somehow seeing God in a way I can’t through her window and up past the fat clouds.

So, I added “I hope the raccoon is in heaven.”

She answered. “He is. I’m sure.”

Her assurance was more than cute toddler sing-song words. I felt a presence, God’s as I kept driving.

I thought, oh to believe with such untested abandon, such unfiltered commitment, such direct and unquestioning conclusion.

Heaven. Of heaven to be sure.

A “roadkill raccoon”, according to my granddaughter is surely in heaven.

I smile over the image, I meet Jesus one day and popping around the corner, a raccoon or several. If there are thoughts in heaven, I think, “just like she told me.”

Since becoming a grandmother, I’ve seen through the eyes of a baby, now toddler just what to be sure of and what really does not matter at all.

I could tell all the stories I know of Jesus and they’d pale horribly in comparison to what her sweet soul knows about God’s care and love for us all, creatures and sinners and questioners who teeter on believing without evidence.

“I love you so much.” she offers unprompted.

Best love of all, unsolicited, not a reply to the same casual announcement, not a cordial gotta go, see you soon, love you

More an “I see you” and I think you need it, need to let you know, you seem to need it so.

“I love you.”

Like Jesus.

like a child, freely.

I am loved. This I know.

I can be very sure.

Jesus loves you, this I know.

The Color of Story

Art, confidence, contentment, courage, Faith, family, hope, memoir, Peace, praise, Prayer, Redemption, Stillness, Trust, walking, wonder

For a time, all the books were shelved with the pages, not the spines facing forward. Another time, prompted by some sort of famous person, all the spines with titles were organized by color.

Often, I take the book covers off a new book, curious over the color chosen by the publishers. The colors are typically soft, often blue, tan or yellow.

They’re muted, not noisy.

Soothing.

The star quilt is the one I chose. My grandmother died and we all gathered around the cedar chest to pick a quilt from the perfectly folded pile. Three quilts came back to Carolina that day. My daughter chose a soft blue sort of willowy with a ring pattern. My son chose the largest with a spattering of vivid, I decided, story telling squares.

There’s a sweet spot on my walking road that caused me to stop long ago. Sometimes with the Labrador, often alone. The vast valley of green field bordered by forest always caught the sun going down and the weeds, grass, wildflowers seemed to be wearing halos.

I’d stop, neighbors maybe looking on and I’d capture the blue sky scattered with clouds over the splendid field.

Then someone, a young couple, decided to put a double-wide home in the space on the end.

It seemed an intrusion to pause there to think. It wasn’t the same place, the field felt somehow disgraced by the change.

But, yesterday evening, I approached the hill that curves around to the big open field. The sky reminded me of waves building, like the tide’s rhythm. I paused for a photo.

As I continued towards home, I saw a girl hurrying down our driveway. I met her. She told me she had mail that might belong to us and then asked for an egg. She told me she lives in the trailer, has a baby, a boyfriend who works too much and a mama who is sick with a second bout of cancer. Then she told me she can’t find the people who should have this handful of junk mail, coupons and such and then asked again, “Do you have an egg?” She wanted to make some cornbread.

So I gave her two eggs, told her my name and that I would pray for her mama.

And she crossed the road back to her home, the robin’s egg blue trailer in the field I loved.

And now, love again.

My star quilt is used to cover a hole in the arm of my then new loveseat. The Labrador we love beyond measure ate a chunk out of the arm as a wild and excited puppy, home alone.

So, I folded my clean quilt, beige and blank side showing to match the furniture and to disguise the damage.

The stars’ colors never showing.

This morning, I’m seeing the change, the quilt folded before bed with the star pattern showing. The colors are dancing next to the cobalt blue of a pillow and the rich green of a painting I painted and framed before I ever had the guts to use the word “artist”.

The same green of the field with tiny new pines is the same green of the grass on this painting and the moss from so much rain, a pillow for a feather I spotted walking.

I suppose I’m noticing God again after a season of just continuing towards what we all felt might soon be better.

I’m considering all the places I’ve missed in the interim and acknowledging some grace I can give myself.

Get chances to give others.

Because the places of goodness in my life hold the promise of more; even more lines, color, and interruptions that aren’t misdirections, detours or disasters.

Simply colors added to my story.

Just so pleasant, the peace of accepting them.

“The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭16:6‬ ‭ESV‬‬

God is everywhere. Don’t forget to notice.

Keep going.

Your colors are showing.

Threes and Peace

confidence, contentment, courage, Faith, hope, memoir, Peace, Redemption, testimony, Truth, Vulnerability, wisdom

“Behold, I will bring it health and cure, and I will cure them, and will reveal unto them the abundance of peace and truth.”
‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭33:6‬ ‭KJV‬‬

I’m guilty of using words repeatedly, words like “season” I keep hearing, lyrical sort of as they dance with others.

I like the word peace. I cherish it, settle my mind on its importance for me, more so for those I love, those I meet.

Peace is Strength

Others I’m using are resonate, redeem, and appreciate.

I pause mid sentence to use my mental thesaurus, but these words seem to be mine in this season. I see no need for substitutes.

I’ve just read the writing prompt for Five Minute Friday by Kate Moutang, the word “twenty”. She shared a sweet story of her memories of world travel, a trip she thought was one of “giving”

That turned out to be a season of sweet gifts and lessons she treasures.

I have a little quirk.

I like things in threes.

Three plants lined up on a shelf, a turtle and a rabbit anchored by a little sign saying “peace”. I love the way three seems complete, like the knot tied in a string and the meeting place in a circle of hand holders,

a ring around the rosy kind of innocent peace.

This morning, actually for a month or more, I’ve been thinking about my 60’s as my 62nd draws near. I’ve been the listener in little coffee shop chats between women, comparing which was harder,

Turning 30, 40, 50, or 60?

The marking of a new decade. I’m wondering about the years in between. The years that take a back seat to the big surprise gathering, black balloons, not so funny jokes, but sweet celebrations with family and friends cheering, look how far you’ve made it!

Thinking of “20”, I’ve mentally divided my 60 plus years by three. I’m time traveling back to 20 year old me, 40 and 60.

The seasons and seasoning of me by hardship, grief, achievements, peace, panic, fear, and many wow, we made it, they did it, so very proud moments!

Wiser now, quicker to see my need for humility, more safe with my true self.

Imperfect and not defeated by the imperfection of me.

So what if I look back I wonder at Lisa at 23, 33, 43, 53?

Were those birthdays less monumental?

I can’t remember really, just know they led to the almost 62 me and I’m grateful for every lesson, every gift I never believed 20 year old Lisa would see.

All of them, every single second leading to the truth of me.

This truth is peace.

It’s worth it times three.

Linking up with others prompted by “20” here.

Five Minute Friday

Suddenly, I See

confidence, courage, Faith, memoir, Peace, Redemption, Vulnerability, wonder, writing

Walking without music or podcast infusing things I already know

I prayed.

I’d made progress on a thing long packed away

And revisited, revived,

Rewritten

Still, it felt faulty

Too shaky, too true

More from the wound instead of the scar

So, I walked on.

Day settled down, storms faded, the sky turned to violet.

I prayed.

It came, the better.

God give me a better idea.

Suddenly, as soon as I asked

He did.

So, pray about anything, everything huge or small.

Be astounded by the sudden answer even when there are still so many others on hold.

God is not silent, but He is so very strategic.

Pray.

Trust.

Wait.

Continue and believe.

What We Say

Art, courage, painting, Redemption, Vulnerability
Naomi

I love this painting, much like I love a sentence that describes a cloud perfectly.

Yes, that’s exactly how I wanted to say it.

I saw a bitter widow named Naomi deciding life is good after all.

I’ll add this 12×16 painting to my artist site tomorrow along with a couple of abstracts on paper.

By the way, I’m having a sale. A birthday sale since my birthday’s in August.

Visit my site. See something you like?

Enter BIRTHDAY at checkout for 20% off!

https://www.lisaannetindal.me