Breakfast, Dreams Unsettled and Possibility

I’ve only scratched the surface, understanding who I am. Some things I’ve settled on being done with, the unsettled traumas no longer unsettling me. I’m not settled, though, on all I’ve yet to see, what God made me for, possibility.

Before I went to the kitchen cabinet I remembered, I didn’t buy the cereal.

I woke up this morning and laid quietly anticipating my decided on Raisin Bran with banana swimming in creamy white milk.

I’d be on the second cup of dark coffee made the color of soft wheat with my half and half cream and a tiny bit of honey.

Raisin Bran is my favorite. It had been years since I had allowed my treat. After having just what I wanted for breakfast yesterday, I made up my mind to do it again.

Sigh, I took the other road, I bought the cardboard textured granola.

I settled.

This is not unique to me, this deciding something less is better for me, deciding I’ll just stop here, only the small good things were meant to be mine.

It is not unique to me that under the layers of self-critique there resides untapped potential, joyous possibility.

It was good and better for me. My rebellion towards sugar only slightly compromised already today. It was good, the granola.

Many years ago, my diet was deprivation. I survived on lettuce laced with mustard and then blew it out by Thursday on keg party beer and Krystal burgers. The memories are not pleasant. I’d love to frame them funny, just not possible.

Now I allow what I want on occasion and I don’t diet harshly or with rigid expectations. I may be close to deciding the 15 pounds I’d like to lose, been talking about it for a few years, have settled, they might be the allowance of grace I need to give me.

Other settling?

Art, book, health, career…I’ve not achieved as much as others here. I’m heavy on the ideas and light on the sticking with them.

Not settling, just waiting and maybe accepting.

Yesterday, I got an email rejection in regards to a story I’ve written about my grandmother, edited three times and sent three separate places now.

What am I to do with these sweet words? I really don’t know. I have so many it’s crazy. How do you settle with them never going anywhere. Writing is hard. I’m not sure why I’ve not quit by now.

Take Me To The Water

Last night after dinner I returned to the large canvas. My daughter had an idea for a painting she’d love over her bed.

Try, try again I did. Covered over covered layers and wiped the whole canvas one color. Again.

“Have I forgotten how to paint?” the familiar aching question.

I stayed at it, kept adding color and layers and I did not quit until I could snap a pic and send to my daughter.

“Beautiful”, was her reply and then that she knew I could sell it and that I should and it shouldn’t be hers for free.

But, it will be if she loves it in person. It will live in the home of she and her husband, their daughter. I won’t find another canvas and recreate it. No, this will be hers.

I don’t want her to settle.

I’m not settling on the small things any longer. I’m having toast with my cheesy scrambled eggs and dark chocolate with almonds in the evening with red wine.

Deprivation to me leans toward punishment. I do love to call myself out. Self-critique over my lack of writing progress is defeating. Pondering perfection based on the price haggled over for painting, so exhausting.

I’ll return to the easel now and I’ve jotted down new thoughts for the book idea. Both, more storytelling and less audience seeking.

And maybe for lunch, I’ll have a Peanut Butter and Jelly, just a half of sandwich on the crusty bread, crunchy peanut butter spread with sweet fig preserves.

I’m believing the wisdom of Psalms and beginning to want to know it full well. I’m choosing to savor everything and be satisfied in the truth that I have only barely begun to know the me made by God.

Good Settling

“I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.

How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭139:14-17‬ ‭ESV‬‬

There’s some freedom for me there. In the uncovering of my layers. There’s all sorts of unsettling of my thoughts, my days, my offerings to others.

May it be the same with you.

Us With Others

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My Bible is open for the first time in almost a week and I’ve found the scriptures’ take on an expression I went to bed with.

I had been thinking of how I’m perceived, in a crowd of strangers who don’t know me, amongst artists and shoppers, women, their children.

For the first time in the bulk of my years it wasn’t about my shoes, my hair, my jewelry, my purse, or even my perfume.

I’ve been without my favorite scent called “Happy” for a bit and so the scent on a not so clear and cool day? I’m hoping it was “Dove” laced clear and clean aroma.

Most of us want to be found “worthy” of good things, pleasant to be with, able to hold a good conversation.

We want to have comparable lives to the ones we are with.

We want to be okay being with most everyone.

Before sleep last night I followed a thought trail to the question of what it means to walk worthy of Christ.

What a life that throws out all other measurements of worth held by society and individuals and simply is focused, content, and well, really just happy to only have one assessor of worth so to speak.

Then I wondered how walking worthy would really look, not me looking at me, but others’ views.

The Book of II Corinthians has four chapters spread across two pages in my Bible.

On the left margin I’ve sketched what looks like a steep hill going up a curve and towards a tunnel. I must’ve been reading Paul’s words about how we may think we are irrevocably affected by our pasts.

But we have lives resurrected, we have hope.

“Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again.”

‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭1:9-10‬ ‭ESV‬‬

There are some things I shouldn’t have survived. Before, I questioned how and why I made it through. Now, I’m quite certain my present life, the nearness of God, is the reason.

On the right hand margin, there’s a sketch of what I’ve begun calling “margin girls”.

This pencil sketch is an early one with no color and at her feet, I’ve drawn a clay pot and a beautiful rose.

As Paul continues his writing, Chapter 2 is about triumph over our pasts. This is the place where the verse lives that describes what our walk is when we believe, what our aura and aroma will be amongst others.

He also owns his own horrible and murderous past and writes that if we’ve been forgiven, the best thing we can do is to forgive others as well.

“But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things? For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God’s word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ.”

‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭2:14-17‬ ‭ESV‬‬

It occurs to me now, I used the word “peddler” just last week as I described how I detest convincing, imploring someone through my own neediness that they need to purchase a painting.

” Peddlers”, I think of insincere and unconvinced vendors.

That’s not who I want to be, when I offer up my belief in Jesus as something others are open to believing.

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No, I share the meaning behind the layers in a piece and onlookers are captivated, drawn closer, decide they’d like to own what God has helped me create.

The idea of the painting, the aroma of Jesus in me, inviting curiosity, not unpleasant.

If I’m found worthy, I want to be found a gentle, confident, pleasingly consistent scent of grace and mercy, salvation through my belief in Jesus.

Years ago, two or three, I heard the Holy Spirit say to me

This is your treasure…your art and your writing.

I was thrilled to be found worthy of such a calling! Impressed that I had progressed to such a place, excited…okay, finally it’s my big break kind of thinking.

But, I’m learning slowly, a treasure is small at first and may never be grand or spectacular at all or in an earthly way.

Instead, the treasure only increases in worth when it’s given back through uncertain and timid hands to the one who made it after all.

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.”

‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭4:7-11‬ ‭ESV‬‬

The thing about God and His teachings through the words of people like Paul is that we don’t understand it fully all at once.

Over time we ponder what is the aroma of Christ that those around me should sense?

What does it really mean to be clay in the potter’s hand waiting to be made into a vessel in which can rest our undeniable faith?

What does it mean to discard all self and others’ assessments of our ability and worth and walk only with one goal.

I want to walk worthy of the God who gave His Son and gifted me through grace to have the Spirit of Jesus in my own very soul. I want to live worthy of this, nothing more.

I suppose if their were a new scent, maybe the Clinique scent called “Happy” I loved so much before, I’ve outgrown.

I’d wear a new aroma, one called “Content” if I owned another pretty bottle.

How are your growing, measuring your worth and your worthiness?

Are you content?

Are you learning?

Content in not suddenly complete and completed?

Content in the balance of caring for the treasure of you, the treasured things you were created to share.

Continue and believe.

You are God’s treasure.

Keep learning.

Unhindered

I’m curious whether musicians, singers, sculptors and dancers do the same.

Find little pockets of chance to create unhindered by the approval of audience or observer.

“Elizabeth’s First Autumn”

I walked with my baby grandchild and we talked about the leaves. Her eyes told me she was listening when I stopped to gaze on the brilliant color against the still spring like green.

I asked myself,

How does God decide which colors become the most brilliant and in what order and why do some take longer to turn.

I knew the answer, it’s how the sun lays down its warmth on the leaves, how they position themselves.

Same with us, same with me.

I’ll turn towards the light to become God’s idea of brilliant.

If not past years, this one, something is saying to me.

You’re coming into brilliance!

Take your time, keep exposing yourself to me.

Let the change in your colors come naturally and without force or calculation.

Nurture your creativity.

It is your treasure to be shared.

I find I’m painting/writing in this way.

I return to the place of ease and flow whether it be pencil and pad or canvas and easel.

This way, I’m not painting or writing and all along pondering the possibility of rejection.

It’s a practice, this non-demanding creativity.

A worthy practice. Pure abandonment in process and completion.

Unhindered.

I take it with me today as I complete three requests for art.

Today is an art day.

What is your creative expression?

Be unhindered, get it down on paper or hands messy in the clay or paint or across the keys or strings.

God made us to make beautiful things!

No Plan Me

Since I’ve changed my blog site up just a tad…naively and fantastically I think I may add three or four more chapters.

And hey, someone may look, may be curious, is her brand hope, is this her message?

Does her presence match her proposal?

Is her connection the hope of redemption?

Do enough people read her?

In the book idea that lingers, a memoir, stories of women who loved me like Jesus despite the disaster of me.

One about redemption I’ve received, finally.

No, maybe today actually it’s more eventually I’ll believe it was and is for me.

I read yesterday that doubt shouldn’t be disguised by incessant quote of scripture.

It’s better to be real about your occasional disbelief than to hide your dismay and eventually implode.

The heart can only hold so much.

We all gotta get quiet sometimes, tell God what it is we need to know.

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Oh, Magnolia

I won’t despise the day of discontent because I know the content will return in a quiet and almost out of nowhere whisper.

What I’m not finished may be complete, I’ll have an entire manuscript and what if, what if nothing happens when the “piece” is done?

Perhaps, I buy several big envelopes and I mail the pages stapled together to quite a few people, maybe some family.

Or, I don’t because wouldn’t it be a shame to know they probably wouldn’t read it anyway?

This, I have decided is why I paint and get closer and closer to no longer writing.

I’m alone in my room, my canvas, the puppy satisfied at my feet and I dab the brushes on my apron, I wipe the excess color from my fingers.

I paint.

I don’t write, I fear returning to what I’m quite scared to death I might give up.

It’s actually a little incapacitating ridiculousness, that I continue.

Yet, I do.

I continue and maybe a tiny bit believe.

Or I paint little brush shaped squares in varying texture and width and length and

I think.

And I add color with no set plan.

And before I know it, I decide.

“Oh, Magnolia”.

And I’m satiated, satisfied, singularly successful.

Just me.

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And I can’t think of a biblical reference other than waiting doesn’t mean quitting, maybe just means reprieve from me being all about me and back to quietly trusting

In who and what I believe.

Eventually.

We shall see.

But Jesus

Two pages of print so fine I resort to going without my glasses. My vision is aging, my prescription apparently needs changing.

Side note, 49 got me worse than 50 did and I’m thinking 59’s gonna hit me hard the same.

Still, oh mercy me…I’ve come along way in my most recent ten years!

Thank you Jesus!

At first I thought I might just focus on Ephesians, the second chapter.

I’ll take just a few words and I linger in my absorption of their meaning being just a tad different.

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,”

‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭2:4‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I felt the emotion of remembrance and I let it set in

But God.

Yesterday, I listened to a podcast that always welcomes the discussion of hard things.

A pastor, raised by his grandmother talked about his struggles and I won’t attempt to quote him, it’d be better if you listen in.

Derrick Hawkins on JOE

I’m out walking.

Fooled by the morning temps now hot, achy for some reason. I pressed on if for no other reason than to get back home.

And I listened.

At the end of this podcast, Lisa Whittle asks her guests an every episode question.

What’s the last thing you’d say about Jesus? Lisa Whittle

When Derrick Hawkins answered, I said “Oh” out loud and again “Oh, my.”

I’ll remember that like a Bible story, I’ll consider it significant.

When the woman at the house of the leper in Bethany poured out expensive ointment from her alabaster flask over Jesus’ head the disciples were indignant.

I guess they were maybe vying for his approval. Perhaps, they thought he’d find her behavior flamboyant or ridiculous.

They were haughty in their pointing out her behavior to him. I love it.

Jesus said basically, let her love me. Let her be. Click To Tweet

That she’d take it upon herself to worship Jesus unprompted and unexpectedly, she simply did what her heart led her to do.

She walked up behind the reclining Jesus and she honored him by giving away what was seen as precious, costly, not to be wasted.

She couldn’t imagine a better use for it.

The best of her given so unabashedly.

The best of what she’d acquired or been given, given away in a sense for the sake of worship, of remembrance of him, of believing what he’d been telling the others was about to occur.

Like a farewell offering, a worthy gift to a deserving recipient.

Maybe the disciples doubted the doom of his death. Maybe the woman at Bethany believed and was ready.

Because of her lack of concern for the disciples opinion, she will be remembered.

“Truly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her.”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭26:13‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Here in South Carolina on a balmy nothing spectacular morning, I turn to this story.

On the day I decide to open my Bible after two days of just phone found scripture, I sit and let my eyes fill with tears.

I am connected with her story as I was with the one of Derrick Hawkins.

In the mornings I go out barefooted and stand in the cool wet grass for a minute.

I look up usually.

Sometimes down, at the level place God has me now and I know clearly I cannot discount his mercy.

I made a list this morning of all things of me.

Changed artist to painter and writer to blogger, added roles most important, wife, mother, grandmother, disciple.

Told myself, let’s be honest Lisa Anne and celebrate that honesty being enough in your Father’s eyes and hands.

No need to demand my attention I feel God’s been saying.

Stay aligned with Jesus, be unconcerned with who may be watching. Click To Tweet

I pray I’d not have been the disciple who said thousands of years ago, I don’t know Him or the one who couldn’t stay awake or the one who kissed his cheek as a way to show the killers who to take.

But I am some days, I falter.

He finds me.

Says come back now, your unique worship is welcome, nothing is wasted.

Give me what is you.

How will I be remembered?

Will it be in ways of significance or simply small by our culture of comparison and cutesy competition and Instagram celebrity standards?

I don’t believe this satisfies Jesus and I’m beginning to believe it doesn’t satisfy me.

My seeking of recognition.

Not my anxious counting of followers, rather my calm obedience to my content consistently representing my hope of causing curiosity over Jesus, my possible never knowing how my story might change another.

And that being okay, the not knowing that one day a grand or a great-grand or even a stranger might say oh, I love the way she wrote about life and love and Jesus or I love the way she laid down color on canvas.

Letting Jesus decide the direction of my blog, the worth of my story.

The image and images I leave.

Time is not a factor in the impact of our stories and our brave acts of sharing.

The alabaster flask anointing story of Jesus causes me to be certain of my mercy story.

Causes me to know I’m a child of God and that Jesus will always be my defender.

The story of Derrick Hawkins and his last comment about Jesus got me good.

I’m sure he didn’t plan it, my connecting with him.

But God did.

Got me thinking I understand mercy more now.

Mercy that’s rich.

That doesn’t chastise or refute me.

Mercy finds me and says, that was then, this is now. Click To Tweet

My Heavenly Father saying

Yes, I know Lisa Anne but, Jesus.

And me in agreement saying, I’ll continue.

Continue.

Continue and believe.

“For we are his workmanship…”

‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭2:10‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Peaches

Here’s how it goes around here. I paint abstract landscapes or girls angelic, occasionally a flower and a couple of days ago, 3 peaches. I have pencil sketches of a nude figure with a slightly askew bun. It’s beautiful, graceful and free, a departure for me.

Me: What does this painting make me you think of?

GT: Uhmmmm….A sky? Water? A woman? Sunflowers?

Me: Did you notice the peaches painting?

GT: Yeah, I saw the big peach, it was big.

Me: No, there are 3.

I suppose it’s a good thing he doesn’t get too much into the sanctuary of my “business” and that whatever I paint, yeah that’s good.

Like the time I spent a week trying to paint the likeness of Jimi Hendrix only to consistently find myself staring at James Brown.

He swore it was Jimi. It for sure wasn’t.

That piece was covered over with freedom and resulted in a woodsy set of illuminated pines.

I love the peaches, the three of them.

Sigh.

“Three Sweet Peaches” is available now. Other art can be purchased at Artisan Market and Decor in Aiken or at the award winning spot with Chef Brandon Velie, Juniper in Ridge Spring, SC. Y’all, you must dine there!