Here Again

For a day, almost two, this site sort of went away.

Went back to an old image, an old place.

I thought I’d downgrade.

Not having a whole lot of “Lisa money”.

Regret came real quick when I saw the ads about toes and fungus.

‘Bout the same time my cover image with my very own coral painted toes in the green clover changed to a long ago cover, grayish colored journal.

Did it matter I wondered and decided it did. Writing here since 2013. How degrading a steward of my words I’d be if I didn’t give them a happy place to be.

So, lesson learned.

Don’t panic.

Revisit.

Begin again.

Keep making your reader curious.

Keep writing in a way that doesn’t put your words in the last chance clearance aisle.

Because, if you’ll allow yourself to believe it.

You’re not there either.

You’re making your way to the front of the store display.

Celebrate with me, if you will the places God keeps placing me:

An article in Fathom Magazine and a featured artist in a real live gallery!

God keeps giving me reasons to continue.

Continue and believe.

Look Again

I saw the something where the other had been proposed.

Painting over.

Left alone, a tiny bit tired over the way it hadn’t developed the as my heart hoped, strived for, imagined.

Look for good.

Look for God.

The tiny bit of light, the sunlight landing on one square of a blank canvas, painted dark and waiting for something.

The spot became water, I changed my idea of what a now finished piece would be. I left it, came back and saw it differently.

The piece did not turn out the way it began.

We don’t know what God has in mind for what has begun in us, what situation has come, has caused us to “come undone”.

We can’t predict the outcome. We can only be faithful to work in progress or thought not finished.

Faithful in our trust, faithful in our decision to continue surrendering

Our lives like blank canvas to his hand a broad stroke of brush or detailed pencil points added.

Pick back up.

Begin again.

Art imitating life, pieces coming together.

Look for God today. Look for good that is likely hard to see. Look for good in everything.

Look for God. Pray.

Trust. Wait.

Continue and believe.

In the Pause

If I hadn’t stepped away from the large canvas covered in colors I’m not happy with

I’d not have texted my daughter to check on her daughter’s fever.

I’d not have gotten her good word,

Walk it out. HB

If I hadn’t told her I was unhappy with the painting.

If I hadn’t said “Yep.” with such resolve I may not have walked at all.

It’s cold.

Not too cold.

Sun still and I told myself as I struck out I’d been walking this way for a while.

This walking strongly, walking as a prescription, walking fast, walking with a song.

Long time.

If I hadn’t decided to pause to notice the squirrel I’d not have tilted my face to find the 3/4 moon against blue vastness.

I wouldn’t have lingered happy with the way the sun glazed the crinkly branches.

I would not have noticed the male cardinal on the tip top skinny gray and fragile limb.

Color so red. I rested.

I paused and then walked.

Again.

If the sun had not been fading down I’d not have seen my shadow like a reflection on the side of a house.

The shadow showing in the forward force of my arms, my legs, my shoulders, what I felt.

Determination

And going, going.

If I hadn’t taken the long way around over dread of sundown, I’d not have heard the few lines about story in a song.

Bear your cross as you wait for your crown. Tell the world of the treasure you’ve found. Elevation Worship, Come to the Altar

No, if I’d not paused from frustrated creating, I’d not have been restored.

To again be creative.

Different, new.

Growing.

Bursting in a slow promise.

Walking, a pause at the altar

Laying down burdens and writing new stories.

Pausing for treasure.

Belief in Farming

Crazy title, crazy thing,

true story.

I always wanted to be a farmer.

Daddy had a garden several years, in the big back yard of the nicest home we lived in, in the narrow yard of the old house in the sketchy neighborhood, the westside of town.

And in the country, the furrowed rows could be seen from my window in the place where my children and I lived next to them, my mama and daddy.

All around us were other bigger fields.

My cousin worked them every year.

Soybeans, corn, peanuts, the rotation.

And wheat, the swaying stalks the place where my little girl loved to escape.

Just in front, sandy dirt, easily bogged down road that required us to memorize the ruts, there was cold and quiet digging at the end of the day, old bent silver spoons stirred up cakes and castles for both of my children back then.

We were never farmers but we saw the life.

We learned from the living.

We knew that the rain could ruin a crop and the lack of it, the same.

2019 was a year of breaking up my land, fine deep uprooting of long decayed seeds that needed to be give up on.

Crops that were meaningful but not so beneficial saw my surrender to possible new yields.

New seeds were planted and I was faithful even if my faith like a worried farmer sat and cynically muddled over what wasn’t growing.

Waited and accepted the harvest that came and set the mind on plowing down what didn’t produce and waiting til the season said yes to make new furrowed places and drop new seed.

I grew in new ways in 2019, struggle, surrender, stubborn decisions to live differently.

Differently as in not giving up on the possibility of new thoughts, new ways.

Rejecting the idea that nothing could ever grow strong through the work of my words and my hands.

Deciding not to let my fields become a wasteland, instead allow the painful turning over of my ground, the destruction of old roots making space for new planting.

“reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the Lord, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.”

‭‭Hosea‬ ‭10:12‬ ‭KJV‬‬

Months ago, I heard someone recite this verse and it simply would not let me go.

I began to grow slowly then.

Slowly being okay with waiting.

Surrender is a strong decision not a flag marking a quitter.

Surrendered ones keep going.

Taking in the nourishment given to me by songs, sermons, scripture.

Quiet, underneath like the soil.

My soul began and is still growing towards the embrace of the truth of the mercy and love of Jesus.

I wondered this morning if rushing towards Jesus, of standing up and saying I believe and not realizing it takes time to grow is a deterrent.

Do we decide not to believe fully because we expect to have a burst of understanding, an all of a sudden plentiful harvest of walking by faith in glorious fields?

I wonder if that causes us to doubt Jesus.

Nothing growing, we quit planting, we stop watering.

Just a thought.

And again, a mindset for me,

Just continue LT.

Continue and believe.

Because of mercy, Amen.

What has been planted, have you planted so far?

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.

New Year Word

What do you know of yourself because of 2019?

How can you be honest with you?

It is good to understand your ways, good to be truthful with yourself, good to right unintended wrongs.

I can be distant, lose connections, be a not so dependable friend.

I’ve got some notes to send, some catching up to do with my “colors” the women who supported me through the years.

In a way the year has felt like an onslaught, a flood, a deluge of concerns along with a swift flowing stream of so much love.

My word was “faithful” in 2019, meaning I was faithful to keep pursuing God’s way for me and knowing He was gonna be faithful in His care for me.

Just kept on going, kept being buoyed in the storms, safe and learning.

We went out to the country the day after Christmas. Because of the rain we expected the dam would have bursted and his parents’ pond might be empty.

But it wasn’t, we walked together towards the edge, following the sound of bubbling, the soft yet strong flood of overflow towards the wide tree planted creek.

So, no problem. We stood and then stayed a while. It was quiet, tucked away in a back corner of his parents’ land.

The dock seemed more brilliant in color, the sun and shade mixing the tint to an almost feminine green, green like the color of spring, green like soft velvet.

The pads on the surface some with long weedy tendrils were situated softly, not overgrown in a cluster.

Okay alone.

.

Mostly single floating blooms.

The little bridge he built of old wood was bordered by stone he made from bags of cement.

But, it didn’t seem manmade. It looked as if the water’s edge was made of a beautiful white stone, marbled by harsh weather.

A lily pad top was resting, its softness molded into stone.

Must’ve been forced from the pond by the flood of water and somehow rather than drown in the rushing torrent, it was found pretty by me.

I knew the sight was meant to be mine to see. Other than just a bit of nature, there was something else for me.

I choose not so seriously a word every year. I don’t spend time in prayer or take time to decide. It’s always just happened to be found and I decided it made sense.

And then, it has.

It does.

In my Bible next to the verse I call “life”, I’ve penciled the last few years in.

“Breakthrough”: 2017

“Still”: 2018

“Faithful”: 2019

“Endurance”, I’ve decided, my word for 2020.

Because I could settle with the good enough I know, my life is good, my family, my marriage, my children.

My art, my piecing together of words into sentences, stories.

All of the former would be wasted in my settling, if I didn’t endure to the calling forward.

My breakthrough in healing over past trauma, my getting better at waiting, not forcing, of being “still”. My grasp of God’s faithfulness and my ownership of it.

After all this time, I believe it’s not just for others, that He loves even me.

So, endurance?

Yes.

Endurance like the pond’s flower, not resisting the strong rush of water, being pliable, being carried to a safe place and resting there to be seen as strong and surrendered to whatever.

What still will come.

He will give rain for the seed with which you sow the ground, and bread, the produce of the ground which will be rich and plenteous. Isaiah 30:23

The seeds from my breakthrough were scattered, not wasted and there was a stagnant period that felt like a flailing of me and my value.

Still, I waited.

It was unpleasant and heartbreaking at times. Waiting felt like being nothing, doing nothing, like the end of possibility because of my age.

But, I painted still and I was frantic over every chance to be seen as important, either a writer or an artist.

I was pitiful at times, seeking pity from others too.

None of this stopped God from holding on to His hope for my purpose. I was persistent although struggling, what He saw was that I was “faithful”.

Now, days from a new decade, I’m seeing joy in all of it. Being chosen for exhibits, an idea making sense and being well received, a 2020 calendar, a different perspective on the “Colors” memoir manuscript.

A brave goal by the end of January, 30 pieces to launch a more serious art website. (?!?)

I was brave in 2019. I made choices I would have never made before, choices that are not the choices of a timid victim, choices that said “victim no more”, no longer controlled by fear.

2020 will be a year of remembrance, I’ll be buoyed farther from the safe and hidden shore and I’ll not expect unwavering tides or resting ease.

I’ll go where his faithfulness has brought me and I’ll trust with endurance the newly emerging artist and writer, woman of me.

I’ll endure to see more clearly what God made me to be.

Because of mercy, I’ll continue. LT

Now I rise from my “morning spot” to tackle to the waiting list in my workroom, newly cleaned, brushes washed, desks rearranged, laptop and manuscript newly placed.

A letter for my “colors”, finish two commissions, one of which has made me feel so ill-equipped and then begin the first of 30 new pieces.

I’ll begin today and then

Endure.

the ability or strength to continue or last, especially despite fatigue, stress, or other adverse conditions; stamina

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