Mud and Moon

Abuse Survivor, Children, contentment, courage, curiousity, Faith, grandchildren, Peace, Redemption, rest, Stillness, Vulnerability, waiting, wisdom, wonder

The moon is my favorite along with the color blue, the crescent curve and the hue called cobalt.

Crescent moon like a tilted uncertain smile, saying okay hang on, hang on.

And the cobalt like the ink from a broken pen, the thick fluid, jam from a jar.

I love the others, the sky, the teal, the baby; but, the strong cobalt calls me closer.

The half moon or the full in its brilliance are spectacular.

Still, I favor the crescent one.

Today, I watched a toddler persist. The country path that leads to her home had puddles of rain yet to dry up.

We walked towards one, I reminded her of her shoes, not her boots and she approached and then walked on.

One puddle, the largest of all and she paused.

She turned to find a pebble and then “plop” it went in the water and then she found a big brittle oak leaf.

Intent on tossing it into the puddle, she carefully skirted the edge of the muddy water.

But, the wind swept lightly across her little knees and then again and again, the brown leaf was swept up in the wrong direction.

I heard a little sound, like “umph” but, I saw her not frustrated, simply understanding.

Then she came from a new angle and she dropped the brown brittle leaf in the center of the puddle.

There!

Then, we walked on, “ready set go”.

I’m wondering now if there’s a color of water that I love, a thick colored watery taupe.

An oak leaf resting as we walk back by,

The cobalt of the morning sky allowing a strip of coral in.

My day began this way.

I welcomed the beauty, flipped my phone towards the windshield and I sensed the tone for my day.

Persist.

But, persist calmly. Consider what you value.

What you’ve decided decides your value.

Muddy water mid-morning then a cloudless blue sky against white spindly trees, I am reminded of the value I place on things decided by others.

The things I believe might mean my arrival. I remember now the persistence of a toddler when the wind was against her.

The wind picking up the leaf so lightly and the little hand that decided quietly,

keep trying.

Thoughts of an expression, “lightly child, lightly” reminding me to not try so hard that my trying becomes striving, obnoxious, an idol, not a quiet and important mission.

I am remembering the first time I read this thanks to a blogger friend, David Kanigan.

“It’s dark because you are trying too hard.
Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly.
Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply.
Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.” Aldous Huxley

A collision of faith, nature and wisdom plus the plucky persistence of a toddler.

What are you chasing? What have you not valued that is yours?

The writer of Ecclesiastes sounds much like Huxley to me.

Small matters matter.

More than chasing other, anything other than moon and sun and birds and mud puddles.

“I have seen everything that is done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a striving after wind.”
‭‭Ecclesiastes‬ ‭1:14‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Once More

Abuse Survivor, Art, bravery, confidence, contentment, Faith, Forgiveness, freedom, love, Peace, Redemption, rest, Vulnerability

I wear a T-shirt quite often, lots of times under a sweatshirt. Soft in color and fabric, across the chest are the words, “known and loved”. Wearing it feels like my little secret, the one thing I want to remember once more.

Known by God

Once my life was different than it is today. Once there were reasons to fear. Now, there are reasons to embrace not being afraid.

The woman caught in adultery found herself on display, a crowd had shown up to see her stoning. She waited. She knew the law of Moses. She anticipated the punishment.

The men invited Jesus into the discussion, into the abuse. He invited them to consider their own wrongs and sins of a sexual nature.

Telling the group, the one of you who’s never committed such acts, you can go first, I give you permission to commence the stone throwing.

Jesus waited. He wrote in the sand as the tension must have surely risen and the onlookers waited to see which among these men was perfect.

Jesus knew.

“And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground.”
‭‭John‬ ‭8:8‬ ‭ESV‬‬

The men turned and walked away, maybe the crowd dispersed. Jesus asked the woman if she realized what had just happened.

Her sin of adultery was known and yet, she escaped death by stoning.

He made sure she understood that she was known and loved, not known and condemned.

Once my life was different. Now I am known and loved.

She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”
‭‭John‬ ‭8:11‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Walk in the way of forgiveness. Know your heart in light of mercy. Who we are now matters more than who we once were.

Linking up with others prompted by the word “once”.

FMF Writing Prompt Link-up :: Once

Being Refined

Abuse Survivor, Art, bravery, confidence, courage, curiousity, Faith, Holy Spirit, memoir, mixed media painting, painting, Peace, Redemption, Stillness, Trust, Vulnerability, waiting, wisdom, wonder, writing
Beauty Remains

There’s an odd tree near my home. Its branches are grey and twisted and it half stands half reclines in an empty lot.

It is solitary with only tiny tender pines trying to begin their lives nearby, bright green fan like needles on the skinniest of branches.

I’m not an arborist. I know this tree is old, “gnarly” comes to mind. It has pods of some sort and pale white tiny blooms in the Spring. I’ve yet to see it produce a nut or fruit. It still has a few crinkly leaves furled and scattered.

It has lingered long.

Planted in the empty lot or the lot owned by someone and long neglected.

A decade or so ago I began to notice, this leaning tree keeps staying, fascinating me. It is steady although it has no real reason, not attended to by anyone other than God’s good rain and sun.

I’ve just gotten word from a gallery telling me thanks for your submission, our walls are full.

We have enough for display.

I downgraded from a website for my art to Etsy. The decision surprised me with the ease, and the peace, the still today peace is keeping me.

The desire to be an artist feels like an ache, a wound that keeps reminding you to take it slow, slow movements bring lasting health and renewed fervor.

This I know. The change is internal. I am being refined. I am growing. I know because this time, I have told this change, welcome, come on in, stay a bit.

A crazy thing happened on Sunday morning. I heard a sound above my head and thought, an animal in the attic…a big one. At last, I’d convince my husband and he’d believe me, those squirrels are living above our bed.

Later, I went to make the bed and discovered branches curled against my window. The pretty poplar tree had been uprooted by nature and leaned in a precarious way against our home.

Home alone, I walked out in rain boots and pajamas to see the bulbous root upturned and the trunk resting against a patio table. The discarded table saved our windows and our roof. The tree is now cut into pieces by our sweet son in law and only debris remaining.

I am wondering what caused it to fall.

Today, I read a passage in a devotional referencing a verse about being refined.

I will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried. Zechariah 13:9

I thought of what it means to be refined, how I’d always equated being refined with having more polish, more finesse, what had been started becoming a final result that stood out from the rest. To be refined would feel as close to perfection as possible, a pleasing object to gaze upon, a showpiece worthy of applause.

I know the metaphor of life’s trials and traumas being a symbol of the fire of the silversmith, the heat melting the substance so that it shines smoothly.

Deep Roots, the Gnarly Tree

I’m realizing it’s not about shining, the refining God wants us to understand and allow.

It’s an inside transformation, a change in our souls that leads to changes in mindsets and goals.

A change maybe we and God only know.

To be refined, all impurities are removed from a substance, it becomes internally pure.

A Canon named George Body, born in 1840 describes it this way,

“His loving eye is ever eagerly watching for the moment when the purifying work is done. Then, without a moment’s delay, He withdraws the fire, and the purified soul is removed from the furnace. See, again, it is when the image of Christ is reflected in us, so that He can see Himself in us as a mirror. Raise your eyes, then amidst the flames, and see the Face of Jesus watching you.” George Body

Stand like the old tree, stronger because of the nature of its own depth and fiber and because of the refining hand of God.

The strength is inner, the strength that was brave when it said call yourself an artist.

Keep creating.

“Love Story” 16×20

Keep it quiet. Keep it confident. Keep it grounded.

Remember, your theme is redemption.

Redemption, not kept to yourself.

Find me on Etsy (LisaAnneTindal)

Cake Tomorrow

Art, birthday, courage, daughters, family, mixed media painting, Motherhood, painting, wonder
January 30th – Cake With Your Mama Day

One of my favorite things to see is the expression on my son in law’s face when I talk about art or life or I’m uncharacteristically funny.

We were sharing our Saturday plans, “cake with your mama day” and the whole idea of it.

Mama baked, January 30th was her birthday, still is and so, we’ll celebrate it by eating cake and telling other people about it.

He smiles, looks at my daughter. I walk towards my car and say, I guess most people think I’m weird!

My daughter shouted back,

“No, just crazy!”

And I saw them smile and I drove away, knowing they think I’m crazy in a good way, the way God made me.

“I thank you, God, for making me so mysteriously complex! Everything you do is marvelously breathtaking. It simply amazes me to think about it! How thoroughly you know me, Lord!”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭139:14‬ ‭TPT

Crazy for fun ideas and for sharing them?

It’s the way God designed me.

Linking up with others here prompted by “design” and I’m hoping they’ll have cake with their mama tomorrow or cake by themselves or with someone to honor her!

FMF Writing Prompt Link-up :: Design

(Artwork above is available to purchase.)

Light of Heaven

Abuse Survivor, Angels, confidence, contentment, daughters, Faith, fear, Forgiveness, heaven, memoir, Peace, Redemption, Salvation, Trust, Truth, Vulnerability, wonder
Certain of Heaven

I wonder if we’d talked about Heaven would I have been better at it.

There’s a memory of my pre-pubescent days that lingers, leaves a lot of questions.

Saturday morning, my older brother and I and maybe the baby brother reported for duty.

(Here’s where I note, the memories are my own, my siblings’ are sometimes different, less or more.)

But, we’d arrive at the church and there would be a little preparation, pep talk, bellowing prayer sort of meeting.

No pants for girls were allowed, only skirts or culottes. I was shy, I was uncomfortable in my female skin. I wanted to do right, be loved and accepted.

We were transported to some big parking lot of a store and we paired up or if we were bold, we approached strangers alone.

We gave out the gospel tract that may have had a ruby faded flame depicting Hell on the front or a big bold question mark, prompting us to confront others about their salvation.

I don’t recall being very good at it. I hoped somehow I was good enough.

Last week or the week before, I felt afraid again. Someone mentioned the rapture. Another wrote about being certain those around you are certain of heaven.

I felt my spirit crouching, looking for a safe corner. Fear rose up.

I thought about why.

“The faculty of memory is particularly exquisite. I think there’s a secret to why God provided it.” John Eldredge, “Get Your Life Back”

I am certain of heaven, talk of it doesn’t scare me. It was simply the Saturday school of witnessing to strangers that scared me, a subtle trauma.

I began to think of a better approach. Although we were young people, little soldiers, what if we had begun our conversations with heaven?

I envisioned us all being schooled in a circled gathering. Inquisitive ones, looking towards our teacher. I see myself captivated by the hope of heaven, inspired, uplifted, casting off my despair.

Excited and at peace simultaneously. God smiling.

What if, way back then I had been trained in hope instead of fear?

Some things may have been different. My story not as meandering to be where I am today.

“Your story matters. Your story will not be lost.” John Eldredge

Angels Near

Years ago, I bought a Bible from an estate sale. It bothered me that it had been left so long. I decided I would find the family of this woman, I was confident they’d be thrilled to be discovered.

No luck.

I’ve kept the soft worn leather Bible that belonged to a young woman who was an art teacher and became a school principal.

Treasures in her Bible are her membership card as a National Educator, her PTA card, a litany for children, a lesson plan on color, a newspaper clipping announcing her promotion and a photograph of my mama at my wedding I decided belonged here.

A Red Cross membership card

In 1939, Angela renewed her Red Cross certification. My mama was born that year, January 30th.

I’ve read all the notes Angela wrote about her journey of faith in the pages of her Bible.

“We have to open our hearts to the workings of God.” Angela

Heaven is restoration. It is no longer needing to revisit old stories. We don’t see yet; but, in heaven we will see them as God intended. God, both the author and finisher of us.

“Lest we despair, God has given us a “future and a hope” and to be quite specific, it includes the restoration of every precious day of our lives. Heaven is not a memory wipe.” John Eldredge

If I had a do over from my childhood evangelist days, I pray I’d have the courage to look another in the eye. I pray I’d have the sweetest soul penetrating eyes and that my voice wouldn’t quiver a bit.

I pray I wouldn’t be wearing culottes.

And I’d say “Hey, how are you…wanna talk about heaven?”

Today marks the year eleven since my mama went to heaven. Too soon, I’m nine years away from that age.

I’m certain she is joyous. I’m sure every pain and heartache she experienced no longer remains.

I thought of heaven in a new way yesterday. I pray I continue.

I envisioned the reunion with someone who harmed me, brought havoc and years of pain.

I saw us seeing each other and I heard myself say.

“I’m so very happy you’re here.”

Angela’s Bible

“For the Lord himself will appear with the declaration of victory, the shout of an archangel, and the trumpet blast of God. He will descend from the heavenly realm and command those who are dead in Christ to rise first. Then we who are alive will join them, transported together in clouds to have an encounter with the Lord in the air, and we will be forever joined with the Lord. So encourage one another with these truths.”
‭‭1 Thessalonians‬ ‭4:16-18‬ ‭TPT‬‬

I am certain of heaven. I believe in the rapture because I believe the pain and redemption of Job, of Paul, of the woman caught in adultery, the short man who stole from others, the flooding of the earth and the obedience of Noah, and the gracious decision of God to make heaven possible by giving His Son as a sacrificial death and glorious resurrection.

So, I believe in the rapture. Believe in Jesus. I am anticipating heaven.

I’m aware of the angels today, Angela and Bette. I see them celebrating my choice to see hope and no longer despair.

Wanna talk about heaven with me?

It would be great joy. I want to know you’ll be there too.

Worthy of Finding

contentment, courage, doubt, Faith, grace, Trust, Vulnerability, writing

“The blind see again, the crippled walk, lepers are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised back to life, and the poor and broken now hear of the hope of salvation!”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭11:5‬ ‭TPT‬‬

Today I read the parables of the lost sheep, the lost coin and the wayward son who lost his way and was welcomed back home again. The one sheep among hundreds was important. The one coin found after hours of sweeping and searching was treasured and the prodigal son who stumbled back home certain of his unworthiness was celebrated.

I thought how easily I decide I’m unseen, that God has forgotten me, has either decided I’ve come as far as I can or that I’m now completely on my own.

Instead, like the one silver coin of ten, when God sees me finding Him again, it’s a joyous celebration.

I love to think about such small things, enlightenment from my Bible I may have missed before.

Like the one line in Matthew 11, “the poor and broken now hear the hope of salvation!”

I needed to hear this, my spirit weak and broken over dreadful thoughts and speculations.

My heart and my mind, fixed again, my broken spirit repaired.

“He heals the wounds of every shattered heart.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭147:3‬ ‭TPT‬‬

Now hear of hope.

Again.

Circle back and sense it. Go outside. Notice the breeze, gaze at what feels like nothing to find something broken or fallen, discarded.

Gather it up in your hands. Hold it. Find it and remember you are found by God when you quietly allow it.

Keep what you find, be joyful over being found.

I’m joining others in writing, prompted by the word “Fix”.

FMF

Becoming

Abuse Survivor, Angels, Art, bravery, confidence, courage, curiousity, Faith, grace, hope, memoir, painting, Peace, rest, Trust, Vulnerability, wisdom, wonder, writing

Yesterday I sat in the dentist chair wishing I had music as a buffer, a distraction to help me not think of what the hygienist was thinking about my aging teeth.

Instead, I chose the Psalm again, the 23rd one and I made it a new song.

On repeat.

“Lord you are my shepherd. You are right here beside me and you’ve always made sure I somehow had all I needed.

And sometimes you’ve given me abundantly more, so much more you surprised me.

I think you must know how much I love surprises, love it when someone thinks of something I might love and then there they are, gifting me!

Lord, you’ve been such a giver of gifts for me. You’ve been with me in the scary places I got trapped and the days of sorrow like a tunnel narrow and winding so the light seems it’s not coming.

You’ve helped me out. You’ve given me reason not to be afraid again.

And again.

Lord, you’ve displayed the best of me for others to see, displays I’d never create on my own.

You show me off, you don’t let the gifts you made in me stay hidden. You help me see what is possible.

You refill my creative cup over and over like a beautiful feast, I return to the paper, the canvas, the brushes in the jars of water.

And I create quietly and certainly.

Lord, thank you for creating me.

The me I am becoming. The one unafraid to honor you, to be an influence that causes curiosity over Jesus.

The me, deep thinker and no longer bothered by that often misunderstood depth.

You made me this way as if to say, ‘here’s who Lisa is, she’s a keeper!’

Thank you for shepherding me, for being so gentle and wise.

For being sure of me becoming me and for doing so very

Patiently.”

Amen.

“I delight to fulfill your will, my God, for your living words are written upon the pages of my heart.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭40:8‬ ‭TPT‬‬

Promises Fulfilled

Abuse Survivor, Art, confidence, contentment, courage, doubt, Faith, Forgiveness, freedom, memoir, Peace, Redemption, Salvation, Trust, Vulnerability, wisdom, wonder, writing

“Then Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith in me has given you life. Now you may leave and walk in the ways of peace.””
‭‭Luke‬ ‭7:50‬ ‭TPT‬‬

Bursting Forth

I cried twice yesterday morning. Both times I welcomed the soft tears, both times considered them a sweet acknowledgement of God.

Alone on a dark morning, just before my set destination, I turned off the podcast and tapped “FM” to listen to “Evidence” by Josh Baldwin.

https://youtu.be/Q6jD7N1HvbI

The line I love?

“I see your promises in fulfillment”

I sat alone in the silent house and prayed along with the new meditation on the “Pause” app, the guided prayer I’ve tapped in to about 600 minutes of based on the book I’m now in my second reading of, “Get Your Life Back” by John Eldredge

Two times I welcomed tears before my day had hardly begun. I felt better because of them.

The day was full. It was good and late last night I took mental inventory of it all, all of the promises fulfilled and the ones sure of fulfillment.

My granddaughter and I visited our County library, a first for her. We had the big open room with art on the wall and every other space books on shelves. We settled with a few and then she’d excitedly go for more.

An older lady came in, found a few for herself, smiled at the baby and said “Precious” and the baby lifted her little hand and said “Hey”.

Next on the agenda, a grocery pick up of needed diapers and the person who showed up at the window.

A daughter of a friend, I was happy to see her. She smiled when I told her just how powerful her voice is. I believe she only recently decided to sing. I was moved by her talent shared on social media.

Her mother had asked to purchase a 2021 calendar and then didn’t get back to me. So, I said “Hey, tell your mom to send me her address and she can just use PayPal to pay, I’ve marked them down, just $20 now.”

Then I changed my mind and told her to open the back of my car and just grab one, tell your mother it’s a gift.

She smiled and we headed to pick up our Chick Fil A, the baby still content, taking it all in.

All morning I’d been calling my friend’s pregnancy care center, no answer and I’d hoped to drop off a donation. Oh well.

With our lunch and after lunch plans, we headed for home; but, on the way saw the cars outside Life Choices and decided now they’re here.

In the parking lot, a gentleman turned from the door, confused I guess as to why they weren’t open. I lowered my passenger window and asked.

His eyes met mine, a similar blue with a little more sparkle. He introduced himself as a retired pastor and a friend of the Director and I smiled and said “Me too, I was hoping to drop off a donation.”

I asked if he had someone in his family who might like a calendar. Told him I had lots left over, I guess this year wasn’t the year for calendars and my donation is what I have left of them.

I didn’t tell him what I’d decided, the calendars hadn’t done very well because I was wrong, I wasn’t good enough.

He took a calendar for his adult daughter who had to move back home along with her baby as I explained to him the inspiration for the illustrations.

He offered to pay for it. I said no thanks and we talked a little more about art and the children’s book about to be available. I gave him the big stack of calendars and he assured me he’d deliver them.

His presence of peace for my granddaughter and I was evident as he offered and I accepted his offer to pray.

Last night, I settled down and recalled the day. A thought came, God’s presence was evident. I told myself, remember the times of today, these are the places you should be focused…making art, writing about Jesus, talking about it with others.

Front Porch Feathers

I thought of the calendars and how they weren’t successful. I remembered my angst over getting it wrong, the text on the back cover. I’d written a little note telling those who bought the calendar why I loved the passage about the alabaster vase. I referred to the woman who showered her affection on Jesus as immoral and later, for some reason, I decided you were wrong to say that, you’re not a biblical scholar and what if you assumed she was immoral, you just wanted her to be relatable, took liberties with her story to sell your calendar.

My thoughts went back to the God who is critical, not comforting, the one who points out wrong until you’re right enough for grace.

While the baby napped, I read the passage for the day, Luke 7.

The recording by Luke of the woman with the alabaster vase is here and I read from the Passion translation, a Bible I only recently purchased. The words are more vivid, descriptive, different.

Here I am on Wednesday after very good restful sleeping.

The amaryllis bulb I bought as a gift for myself is rich in color, leaning slightly towards the window and I wonder if I sat here all day, would I witness its bloom?

Instead, I’ll conquer a few things peacefully today without hurry. I’ll tackle the tasks that seemed made no difference anyway.

My Tuesday closed with “This Is Us”, the most beautiful depiction of God restoring broken hearts and long held hard sorrow I have ever seen. Tune in if you haven’t.

I’ll see again today and tomorrow the evidence of God’s goodness all over my life. I will not fear and I will not dread. I’ll not decide I’m not worth it.

I will continue and believe in the possibility of victorious days.