Maybe An Angel

The corner of my eye caught the flash of what I decided was red.

A red bird it wasn’t.

A sparrow bounced about on our porch. I watched wondering why I was so certain of the red.

Hope, I guess. It was hope and then acceptance over the tiny bird who made me smile, brown not red.

All the Christmas was put away and the boxes tissued the ornaments, lids taped together.

The baby Jesus, solitary without the ceramic lamb, camel, wise men, Mary or Joseph. It rested on the old chair.

Baby Jesus was all alone this year.

Partly intentional because I had no space, Christmas was minimal this year.

The little baby Jesus nativity piece was just in the middle of the shelf under all the stockings and a centered pinecone wreath.

I don’t think anyone noticed.

Or they kept it personal.

The message,

Christmas is about Jesus.

I didn’t tell them, not my children, other family or friends.

Gatherings were crowded, food and gifts.

Baby Jesus was among us.

“What is the price of five sparrows—two copper coins? Yet God does not forget a single one of them.”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭12:6‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Faith is a personal thing, its sharing should be softly serious.

The name Jesus conjures different thoughts for everyone.

Mostly, kept to ourselves, faith growing at our own pace.

The baby all alone, my decision over Jesus.

Not lost on me.

Maybe they knew, said us too.

Remembered what to remember.

I drove later to the busy side of town. The highway widens on the way to support the growth and is bordered for a little bit by fields of pines.

A corner lot had a cluster with a bright golden light in the middle. From a distance I noticed the flash of bright yellow and up close in my passing I saw the most luscious yellow and full of leaves maple.

It seemed not a leaf had been lost so far.

The thought of it lingered and I imagined if I’d had passengers with me, would I have said “Oh, y’all look at that tree!” ?

Or kept it to me because well, it wasn’t lost on me, me intersecting with a beautiful tree; but, if I shared it with others, would the beauty be lessened?

I wonder.

happy birthday to a rare bird

This sentiment was for me on my last birthday.

Yes, birds and me.

Rare!

I’m known by my children.

Their acceptance of me,

It is not at all lost on me.

Errands complete except for one and the roar is not letting up in my ear, not debilitating, just annoying.

Reminding me I’m human and aging.

Remember you’re not invincible. Your physical is affected by your mental, Lisa. Slow the rush, calm the hurry.

Then I choose the “go to” prescription.

I go to Panera for a sandwich.

Something about a sandwich still makes the most sense.

In the parking lot of the office supply place, I devour the roasted turkey, the bacon, the bread. I arrange the soft avocado so as each bite makes a pattern.

Sandwich joy, again.

Indulgence becoming belly fat.

Not lost on me.

I want to be alone with my sandwich.

A little beat up truck pulls into the spot directly in front of me.

Faded white, weathered and dented old Chevy S-10 (my daddy drove a forest green one about the same year model. I try not to remember.) The truck is so small, like a toy and on the bumper is rigged up a gold and green wreath, faded red ribbon and the big word dangling, “Noel”.

Curious. Now I’m curious.

They talk for a minute, both look up to see me eating.

Then the passenger, a beautiful woman in either church or funeral dress steps out. Her hair is coiffed in a side bun, her flowing dress a cobalt blue and her pearls are perfection at the collar.

I watch as she beats on the window and then the man dressed more casually emerges with her cane.

Distinguished in his “dungarees” he is.

His skin the color of a Hershey bar and his strong jaw bordered in perfect grey, he follows his female companion and glances into my passenger window.

He nods. I smile and he smiles back.

He saw me watching them and it was all good and I decide since he decided to drive around with “Noel” on the front of his truck that he loves Christmas.

That he loves Jesus too.

Not lost on me, the little things of yesterday.

The satisfaction of seeing a sparrow instead of a cardinal.

The flash of brilliance amongst the predictable.

The “Christmas man”, simple and stoic companion to a beautiful woman.

He watched me eating yet another sandwich and with a nod told me.

It’ll all be okay.

Noticing God, I sometimes call it.

Maybe it’s really noticing everything.

And I can’t help remember now my little boy son’s response one day…

What if he’s Jesus? JAS at age 7 or so.

Maybe an angel, maybe there are some here.

Christmas Moves

I never had one until now.

$3.99, yes!

I positioned the fuschia blooming plant on the shelf.

Brought Christmas into the little room.

The room with no windows, private, quiet.

The fuschia withered and so

I moved.

Now next to the little teeny birthday card that called me “rare”.

The Christmas cactus in makeshift pot will rest.

And I will watch it bloom.

Christmas makes me think of before, places, people, homes and moods.

Can shift me from hope for the day to acceptance of sameness of before.

I shall move now.

Find light.

Place my heart in the place of new.

Find a new growing spot.

Well lit, spacious.

Room for hope to bloom.

Such Peace

The air is cool and there’s the sound of drizzle that’s not rain, just the dripping down of its remnants in the branches and needles of the pines.

I hurry the puppy, “Go”, coaxing him to do his business and he goes, knowing my feet won’t be walking out any further.

I wait.

The thing my husband has positioned by the fence that borders the pool, a wind gauge or whatever is only twirling slightly as if God’s hand is near.

Something I can’t see is brushing the fan blade that propels the flat tin, a decorative piece.

Maybe it has a function, no idea.

This wind gauge was gifted to my father in law. His son brought it home.

I wait, cold.

The turning of the metal windmill gauge type thing now rhythmic in its pattern.

The light from a neighbor’s yard giving me a patterned silver glint, the light shine compels me, I stand still.

Expectant.

The pattern.

At peace.

Found this morning after all sorts of ways it’s felt stolen.

We long for peace at Christmas, expect it, I’ve decided.

My husband can’t repair the laundry door I slammed from the hinge by accident.

The puppy ate the remote and some Christmas ornaments.

Some people I love have some things not falling into place.

They’re impatient and because I love them, I’m impatient too.

Things like this happen at Christmas. my husband said.

And we’re frustrated and worried and we wrongly equate our anxieties over scarcity and over money.

What we are really pondering is.

Where is my peace?

Where is the peace that came at Christmas? I thought I knew it so much better this year.

Is it in your space now, your world?

Is it possible?

Do you need a reminder somehow?

Maybe hoping God could send you an angel to confirm what you believe of Christmas?

I’ve said before, I’m no expert at scripture. I open my Bible and I’m intrigued by a passage, a verse, a document describing others and God.

Gideon didn’t think he could do what he’d been chosen to do.

The Book of Judges begins on page 200 of my Bible. That’s enough to tell me these are ancient words about Israel, about other gods, about anxieties back then over how to be saved.

Gideon names the place the angel answered his request to be sure of His calling.

The Lord is peace.

This is the place he decided to believe in the Lord, to believe in a peace worth pursuing.

“Then Gideon built an altar there to the Lord and called it, The Lord Is Peace. To this day it still stands at Ophrah, which belongs to the Abiezrites.”

‭‭Judges‬ ‭6:24‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I’m certain I won’t find peace in any venture I strike out on on my own. I won’t find it in a crazy gift exchange family gathering and I won’t find it in my world, the world of overly energetic puppy, tech issues with my TV, calendars I’m trying to sell, orders for paintings, manuscripts that need editing but are stagnant because I’m afraid to try again.

No, I won’t find peace in any of this.

“And Gideon came to the Jordan and crossed over, he and the 300 men who were with him, exhausted yet pursuing.”

‭‭Judges‬ ‭8:4‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I will find it in the places I’m met by it, find it in my pursuit.

Find it in the places I bring it with me.

Hope others feel it to.

Continue.

Continue and believe.

I will find it in what I believe. That it’s true God chose a baby to save us. It’s true that Jesus walked among imperfect people like me and that he loved them the way he loves me, you too. That it’s true this world is angst and trouble and hurry and mean people. It’s true that He is peace.

The baby, the Savior.

Nothing else will do.

Is such peace.

“ I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.”

‭‭John‬ ‭14:27‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Hope and Strength 2020

It has been a happy exchange.

Not handing over a calendar or two in exchange for $25 each.

No, the happy exchange or the occurrence, I should say is to see the pages turn.

To see the faces meet the drawing of the faces of the images I’ve drawn.

To sign the backs of them

Because of mercy, LT

And to say, wanna hear something crazy…I hadn’t intended to sign them that way.

I changed my mind from the more formal “to God be all glory”.

Later, I discovered the theme for my birthday month, August, is “mercy”.

Every detail, He knows.

If you’d like to purchase a calendar, just visit my shop and order through PayPal. If you can afford it, add shipping of about $7.

Thanks so much!

Breakfast with Daddy and Mama

Not intentionally, I sat in the section where the older men gather for breakfast.

I didn’t want to sit next to the windows, not cold just chilly.

I’m out with a list of errands, early and sans makeup or shower.

I longed for my daddy as one came and then another.

Comparing ailments, discussing Georgia football, reading the wrong day’s paper they discovered.

I listened.

I had been thinking about Christmases of before, about hard memories, about what Christmas sometimes does to people.

Still, I missed my daddy, he left me too young.

So, I finish my meal and then sip on strong coffee.

I’m listening to their commentary and their kindness as the biscuit maker from the kitchen’s early shift rounds the corner to join them.

They catch up with one another.

The tone is pleasant.

The biscuit maker and I, we belong.

I miss my mama and my daddy at Christmas.

I’ll be attentive to who they may have been had they been allowed to be here still.

My daddy would be talking with the biscuit maker, mama too.

She’d be joining in.

She’d know right away why the biscuits were “too flaky”, what the chef had done wrong with the dough.

The gentlemen are talking behind me now,

I’ll gather my tray and go.

Give them a nod, have a good day.

They’ll wish me the same I believe.

Now I go, I go in peace towards Christmas.

Peace and Us

We held hands in the foyer and prayed and the closing words to Jesus were that we’d be like light, peace in the places we go, that the peace we know we’d hold in the rooms we’re in with others.

That we’d bring light.

How does your light shine?

I ask myself this morning.

Is it sporadic?

Does it dim

And then annoy with incessant flashing

Like harassment

Like hurry?

How does your light shine?

Is it steady?

Inviting?

To be depended on to welcome back in

to a place of peace?

Does it say

Peace is here?

How does your light shine?

Is it left untended to

To die without power

Without the source for burning?

Does it stay so close knowing it can never shine on its own?

How does your light shine?

What is hiding

Showing?

Is it certain like a promise

Dependable like home?

How does your light shine, your peace, your gaze towards hope, your soft assurance of what you know?

Others will see, others will know and seek.

Peace, peace like the light you bring.

Peace, light and love.

Believe.

Peace is for us.

“O Lord, you will ordain peace for us, for you have indeed done for us all our works.”

‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭26:12‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Happy Sunday.

Tiny Stars and Light

The dog is most content. The laundry is waiting, the errands not even yet listed.

Morning is moving slowly and yet, soon, too quickly for all I need to do.

I’m aware of the need to accomplish a bunch of things.

Instead, I sit. I ponder.

Look beside you, glance around.

What do you see that’s idyllic?

Like playing “I Spy” to occupy your toddler, what’s in your world that’s only beauty?

Idyllic?

Charmingly simply.

I have books on my shelf that I once turned in direction, only the buff colored pages showing, no idea which book was which.

Back then, I found it clean and easy.

Not busy,

Now, I’m looking over and the sun is making stripes on the titles, like an abstract painting as the morning comes in.

Idyllic.

Framed photos next to me are dotted with the reflection of lights on the tree.

Last night the stars were sprinkled the same.

Vast sky, tiny brightness.

The puppy is at peace, he is my anchor begging me stay still.

Stay.

I am thinking of the waking thought God gave and the words of a friend yesterday.

Before praying I remembered the words to a peppy southern gospel song.

God will make a way for His children just like He did when He parted the sea.

I got out of bed to calm the shrill bark of the pup and quickly turned back to kneel and pray first.

Thanked God for wise friends who reminded me of His good will and gave my concerns for others needing beautiful surprises, resolutions to unexpected problems.

Left them there.

Coffee in hand, warm in the “You are My Sunshine” mug.

How can I not see the light?

I have been rescued, been blessed.

Reading less, thinking more.

I should hurry. I rest.

My coffee is now cold and still I just sit. I’m watching the patterns the sun is making on the throw pillows the chairs.

Beautiful. This beauty in December on a Friday.

The room is now daylight so I’ll switch off the lights on the tree, I have no centerpiece for the table and stockings are not yet hung.

Maybe today I’ll finish.

Not lazy, just making allowances to be okay with less than perfect.

To be content with simply okay.

To be well. To be at peace.

Look around you. Find light today and give it more than just a second.

Treasure it.

Christmas is not a competition.

Allow the buzz of activity and social media and traffic to continue all around you.

Engage on occasion.

But, then rest and rest some more and consider.

Consider your life a gift, a gift because of a baby in a manger.

Imagine the flurry of activity around the new baby, the excitement, the panic, the questions.

Mary rested and considered the miracle of Jesus.

“But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭2:19‬ ‭ESV‬‬

More like Mary I’m hoping to be, Christmas this year, in me.

Looking for light in little things and small places, reminding me of tiny stars on a long ago evening.

I’m fascinated by the charmingly simple things now.

The less than spectacular photos shared by others draw me in.

Less covetous of the grandeur of others. Show me a photo of the “little in your life”, the way the light is landing where you love to live.

These are the compelling stories to me, the little places inviting ❤️ or a comment.

Light in. Let it. Join me in looking.

Meeting hope there.

Where Words Live

“The sower sows the word.” Jesus

‭‭Mark‬ ‭4:14‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Someone held my journal in her hand yesterday, one of hundreds gone before.

She needed to list the children’s names for Christmas drawing for gift exchange.

I found a blank page past three or four written in and I let her hold my journal, the place where my current words are dwelling.

Imagined how I’d feel if she turned back a few pages and found my mornings’ words.

Lament, praise, self-criticism and supplication to God, all script and drawings expressing my very private hopes.

I’ve just read an intimate sharing, ten or so sentences in a poem.

The poet, according to his bio, leaves his short pieces in a variety of places.

He writes honestly.

About life, love, death, a menagerie of meaningfully derived pieces.

He is a doctor, a poet, a brilliant writer.

His written word resides in a variety of places, publications.

I paused at the call for submissions, quickly told myself no, you’re too harried in your writing hopes. Simplify, just live with one hope, to write stories of redemption, of being certain strength is the result of not giving up on hope.

If your words had a dwelling place, what would it be?

A gated mansion where people pay good money just to peruse?

A sought after invitation to be allowed a closeup view, maybe to sit amongst the words, even have an open book on their lap? A famous place?

Or would your words be in a tiny space found at the end of an overgrown field, a place that is shielded by years of unnoticed knowing?

Would the little place where your words live be a thrill to visit, your guest realizing they’re in on the discovery of a secret?

Where would you say your words would be found growing?

I read a famous person’s Twitter post offering up thanks to her thousands of followers and how it all began seventeen years ago on her blog.

I realized she’s no longer a blogger. She must be one of those who knows blogging is so over, who reads a blog anyway?

I’ve decided I can be selfish with my words, like my paintings, they’re my very own babies.

I’m inclined to keep the window closed, locked tight and curtained, the one that lets my light out to the great big world, let’s the light of others in.

I’m careful with my contributions to the writing community.

Selfish, I realize.

These words are mine that are often too heavy for even my own heart’s sharing.

I don’t jump at the chance to be chosen quite so much as before.

I’ll let my words keep living here, safe, friendly, the readers who read them.

This vague and not prolifically named place. Not easily found, not optimized for the seeker.

This quiet place emerging at a snail’s pace is the place of my writing, consistently an intimate expression.

Expression a stranger might read and decide they can relate.

Blogging may no longer be important, there may be a different set of aspiring writer rules.

I’ve grown weary of the unending advice or writing advisers.

It is hard to keep up.

I’m either naive or unteachable, stubborn or afraid of failure, uncomfortable with success.

Who’s to say?

It’s all about perspective.

My perspective, my eye for life and love, my ideas uniquely formed about redemption, about my assurance of heaven,

My faith.

None of these can be duplicated and this is the reason.

Writing is selfish.

Selfish in a sweet and honest, sometimes very raw causing the reader to pause way.

I’ve read blog posts like this.

Occasionally I’ve written one.

Say your prayers, I tell myself, let your thoughts get to forming words, type them out or scrawl them down.

May they keep being true.

May you be okay with the not so famous place they settle or are shared.

May the words of my heart find the reader who needs them.

This is my goal, my prayer, my less than spectacular ambition.

Go slowly. Simplify. Keep going. Share what you know about fear, trauma and shame and now, redemption, about Jesus. Go and tell, you’ll know where. Your life is a parable only you can tell.

“And he said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables? The sower sows the word.”

‭‭Mark‬ ‭4:13-14‬ ‭ESV‬‬

What’s your parable this morning?

Mine goes like this. The room this morning early is simply lit by the lights on the tree at end of the couch. The big puppy is resting his head on my lap. The coffee is strong and I’ve added real cream. I’m remembering the dream that I dreamed and how parts were upsetting and parts were reminders. I have yet to open my Bible or my journal and pen. This morning, I had a thought about blogging, about sharing and about simplicity. I sense God keeping me here, intent on that idea, write simply. I’m okay with that although it reeks of insignificance based on lofty expectations birthed by following others.

I’m dwelling in my morning spot, the place of being okay with waiting. I’ll continue my Advent readings and I’ll stop fearing not trying.

Waiting Here for You – An Advent Journey of Hope

I’ll wait for Christmas now. I’ll wait patiently for God to lead my words to places He made them to go.

Here, in spoken places and in hearts changing like mine.

Content in our redemption.

Our stories becoming God’s parables of hope.

Hard stories softened because of Jesus.

Like this one I have stored up:

I watched a man be baptized yesterday morning. His expression was all his, the way the moment of his decision to live differently was unable to be kept hidden. I watched him lift his arms to hold the hands of the one baptizing him up to his chest. His forearms painted completely in ink. He said something about his decision that was so covered in his emotion no one could know. I watched the face of this man rising from the water and I watched the face of the one baptizing. I felt it all, the grandeur in their strong embrace. I saw and felt redemption and I once again, remembered my own.

This man’s story, story of redemption and the Jesus we both know.

Similar in some ways, redemptive in all.

Abiding in love.

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”

‭‭John‬ ‭15:9-11‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Continue and believe.

Keep sowing.

The Book of Luke, 24 Days of Jesus – An Advent Experience

My morning will not be boisterous with unwrapping, celebration won’t come until later.

Children are adults and we’re laid back and flexible, open and accepting. I’m anticipating the day, anticipating spirited appearances, nuanced moments of Jesus in it.

The angels told the shepherds not to be afraid when God’s glory illuminated the sky, an announcement of a Savior.

And Luke ends his beautifully researched compilation with the words of Jesus, again saying fear is something you should never feel.

Of what are you afraid today?

Why are you frightened?” he asked. “Why are your hearts filled with doubt? Luke ‬ ‭24:38‬ ‭NLT‬‬

What are you doubting on Christmas morning?

Everything changes at Christmas except for Jesus.

Jesus stays the same, do not be afraid.

Merry Christmas to you.

Do new things, you can and you will, I’m remembering now my mama, she came to me last night in a dream.

Angelic, she was as she waited for me and without a word guided my continuing, gave approval of my plans.

Finally fading into the distance after nodding, smiling, giving her okay of who I am.

A beautiful vision, angelic it seemed.

Do not fear, Lisa Anne. Do not be afraid.

Merry Christmas to you.

Merry Christmas to me!

The Book of Luke, 24 Days of Jesus – An Advent Experience

Miracles, Them All

I am waiting for an experience I’ve never known.

I will be a grandmother soon. I have a new object on my table next to my morning spot, a beautiful tiny box engraved with a grandmother and baby.

The giver of this gift understands the gift.

She’s one of many who have told me it is a joy I’ve not yet known.

On this Christmas Eve, I’m thinking about transitions, about changes that are coming with the coming year.

Yesterday and even the day before, I longed for time travel, I longed for Christmas with my children as children, the Christmases like before.

I think I miss the morning most, the mornings they’d wake up to Santa and then the excitement, the surprise, the silly and sweet expressions.

I’m in the 23rd chapter of Luke today, the one that describes the crucifixion.

My eyes are welling up, my nostrils sting with the thought, I believe in the death of Jesus, a man sent from God so that we could be with God. Thank you, God, I believe.

The same Jesus who as a newborn was laid in a wooden feeding trough, being without a safe and warm place to be born.

Mary cradled Him, awestruck over his existence, over how clearly it was God who caused him to be.

It’s not recorded; but, it must’ve been difficult not to intervene, not to come to her son’s defense when they brought him before Pilate and then before Herod who declared he’d done no wrong.

Yet, it was ultimately an angry mob who demanded him be dead.

“but they kept shouting, “Crucify, crucify him!” A third time he said to them, “Why? What evil has he done? I have found in him no guilt deserving death. I will therefore punish and release him.” But they were urgent, demanding with loud cries that he should be crucified. And their voices prevailed.”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭23:21-23‬ ‭ESV‬‬

And Mary knew this was God’s plan for her son, still I wonder how she handled it all, had she hoped he’d be spared?

Could someone hear the mercy in his voice, the forgiveness offered in his final moments…could that be enough?

“And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments.”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭23:34‬ ‭ESV‬‬

She heard Jesus comforting the mourners who followed him. She saw her son being laid on a cross and challenged to save himself from death.

She was not surprised when she saw her son think less of himself and more of another.

She heard him tell the criminal about redemption knew he’d be remembered in heaven.

She heard him tell the women his death had a purpose, a purpose even for them. If there is to be weeping, let it be for what is to come for you, what my death will accomplish for you, for your children.

Let your tears be tears of joy, save them for the elation, the blessing of what will be.

“And there followed him a great multitude of the people and of women who were mourning and lamenting for him. But turning to them Jesus said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For behold, the days are coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren and the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’

‭‭Luke‬ ‭23:27-29‬ ‭ESV‬‬

On Christmas Eve, I’m thinking of the baby, the baby born to save and the babies for me that God made.

I’m pondering last minute little things, tokens that convey my undeniable love. I’m thinking of Mary and the truth we both know, children are a gift from God.

I am certain Jesus knew he was loved, loved and let grow and go.

Children are proof to me of miracles. There’s no way no one could ever convince me that’s not so.

“Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭127:3‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Jesus, the greatest miracle of all.