Sky Writing Stories

This is my space, the place my feet take heavy steps now, more slow, less driven. This arena of sky all around me. I’m known, she keeps walking. The neighbors don’t interrupt only nod. I keep walking under God’s massive and ever fascinating sky. I take photos with a not up to date phone. I continue to chronicle my notice of God. Birds all in a cluster. Oddly, one, only one, a lonely goose flew over. I wondered why.

I noticed the birds all together and then separate. I wondered if the ones on the borders of the wide expanse were afraid they might lose the others.

I wondered if birds are that way. If they compare their flights to the flight of another.

Then I said to myself.

“You don’t notice the way you did before, don’t write quite as often about emotion stirred by evening walk, birds or feathers or the breeze that brushed your cheeks.”

Perhaps, there’s a lull or a rest or better yet.

Yes, better yet. You’ve grown.

The story that you’re writing now is not nearly as melancholy.

Not heavy. Not as hard to hear I’m hoping.

It’s more melody.

Harmonious.

Still honest. Maybe just busy with the grandbaby and too tired to notice feathers…

No, not that at all. Maybe your soul has settled. Either way. It is good. You’re still writing. You thought of a new title just last night.

One that includes remembrance.

You know you’ll continue either way.

Continue and believe.

Still. That’s the sermon to self that guides you.

Continue and believe.

Let it Shine

I am now listening to the shrill song of what I believe is a baby cardinal. I read somewhere that it is a high pitched cry.

I imagine the bird being the baby of the mama and daddy red birds that greeted me through the morning kitchen window.

The grass there is green already.

So pretty, their red wings against it. They have returned and their legacy of flying by to cause thoughts of others will continue in the little bird up high crying now.

Yesterday, I couldn’t calm the baby. We sang every song in our regular rocking slow cantata.

She was in rhythm with me, a sweet low sort of melodic hum.

She listened as I sang “Deep and Wide” on repeat and the one I’d never sang before.

“This little light of mine. I’m gonna let it shine. Hide it under a bushel, no. I’m gonna let it shine.”

Today I hurriedly read about the beginning of the ministry of Jesus. The way he was tempted when starving, the way he was rejected because people who knew His parents didn’t think His miracles could be true.

He continued though. He continued and history records those who saw Him as human and then Savior.

History records for the benefit of me, of us. Storytellers and those rescued.

History and present. Firsthand phenomenally personal and compelling because of His love, His Spirit, our steadfast and settled believing He is Jesus.

“And reports about him went out into every place in the surrounding region.”
‭‭Luke‬ ‭4:37‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Believing and continuing.

Let it shine. Your personal essay, a report of Jesus.

Enduring

I don’t keep track of when I began. I know I should. I just don’t know a whole whole lot about numbers.

I lose my “umph” when I get wrapped up with who’s reading, who’s buying a painting…who follows me, who’s interested! I wrote about this in this month’s Newsletter:

https://mailchi.mp/23b2252f56aa/believing-in-a-lasting-way

But, people are reading. People are seeing.

I am shipping art to a gallery in Greenville, SC called Me’lange.

I have an article in the current issue of Fathom Magazine. https://www.fathommag.com/stories/i-would-say-jesus?fbclid=IwAR3mruDC0Zb0FP_px_LxDto0i1PVDtBqUYdEMXYyovf_QYi9fhKen-5GiKA

My art was here in 2018.

Still, I know me and can’t let this be big. I am much more comfortable with small…doing small things and letting my God be big.

Here’s the end of a quote I’m loving.

“Do not be so eager in your vain desires, do not even be so eager in avoiding eagerness; go quietly in your own path … it is a good path.” St. Francis de Sales

Where You Are

All my days are in you, God.

This thought, my waking one on a free Friday morning.

The Bible says we’re worth more than sparrows and that God knows the number of hairs on our heads.

Still, I find myself wanting to keep it all under control, worry over what I need to do to become what I’m not yet.

A trio of black crows gathered out by the woodpile on Thursday.

I pointed them out to my granddaughter, acknowledging their being so close, not flying above us anymore.

We talk about the birds as we watch from the windows cold to the touch of our hands.

Foggy mornings cold to southern girls like us, cooped up and positioned for curiosity.

We had three days like that.

Then the sun came.

I woke this morning thinking about the sovereignty of God, of peace and of that being a relief.

About realizing that every moment holds peace if we accept that in every circumstance, every craziness or every seemingly unfair lull in meaningful activity, God is in it with us.

Be at peace.

What a relief to accept every single moment as God’s orchestration.

Either of needed rest or of unexpected yet longed for relief.

I’ve often found myself on the edge of a forlorn cliff deciding to sit and be at peace or to jump for relief, either running from my anxiety or demanding evidence of God knowing me, finding me worth knowing.

Truth is found over and over in the quiet place. His Spirit is relief.

Yesterday, I was escorted back home from the winding roads bordered by overgrown splendid trees, bright moss clinging to clay ditches and a wide sky with soft brushstrokes of clouds like meringue.

I noticed the birds.

I decided they were the ones from Tuesday.

A trio of hawks led me back to the main road and I held up my phone thinking this is for you from God.

Saying good, see you’re seeing me, Lisa.

I wanted to remember the threesome, the hawks swooping and swaying above me as I turned from my third grandma day back home to paint.

I am learning to live aware of all my moments.

To live peacefully, momentarily.

To remember the things God is saying about His will being found by me.

Be where you are.

Notice God there.

I saw that the grass my daughter picked from the pond had faded and told her I loved it more, the softer color.

She paused, maybe she saw it.

Peace as a centerpiece.

The will of God is found when we accept ourselves in the places He places us, changes us.

When we give fully to every calling, each one of value.

Not anxious over what is unfinished or not even begun yet.

Be where you are.

Life and peace, this is your life and this will be your finding peace.

Life and peace.

Singing “Deep and Wide” to an eight month old and watching her eyes, seeing her awareness of love, her noticing God.

Allowing this captivating exchange.

Treasuring it.

Standing in front of the easel, taking time to nourish this calling. Creating from a closeness with my Creator, not worried over whether someone will want it.

God’s work through your hands, think of it this way and be sweetly, simply amazed to be an artist.

Writing without seeking acceptance, writing your one and only story.

Writing for those God knows need your words. Don’t consider that small, never see that as a small calling.

Listening to my husband who loves lyrics like not passing this way again. He’s so subtle. Aging is a melody, it is best done together.

Be what God has shown me to be for my adult children, available and unrelenting in my belief and God’s in them.

There’s no need for analysis or expert advice.

Keep being their mama!

There’s a peace here, it’s a heart and mind decision, sacred in relationship.

Be who God knows you’re on the cusp of becoming and look for His assurance, not others’.

Be who you are.

Relieved in that acceptance and aligned with the one who made you.

Soar.

See, you are loved.

“So here I am in the place of worship, eyes open, drinking in your strength and glory. In your generous love I am really living at last! My lips brim praises like fountains. I bless you every time I take a breath; My arms wave like banners of praise to you.”

‭‭Psalm‬ ‭63:2-4‬ ‭MSG‬‬

What a gift, I decided.

Relief.

You, where you are.

Continue and believe.

Knowing Birds

I should become educated on birds and their differences.

Birds I decide are hawks because I think of my daddy are usually buzzards.

My husband or daughter will tell me and I’ll cling to the hawk story because I like it better.

Still, they interest me. I notice.

I am fascinated by what looks like freedom to go and to be and to live with beautiful ease.

Three birds in the distance careening in a weave.

They were funneled through the foggy sky.

Flying together for me to see and then dipping down in the valley behind the tall pines for a minute then showing themselves again.

Then, the sound, the “ca-caw” told me they were crows which I only recently learned are different than the raven.

The raven, a little more special I have learned.

Still, I watched and I wondered where are they going, are these even the same three birds as before?

Then the fog began to let blue and sunlight through and three birds played, the same or maybe another trio danced a waltz of synchronicity just for me.

“The wind blows to the south and goes around to the north; around and around goes the wind, and on its circuits the wind returns. All streams run to the sea, but the sea is not full; to the place where the streams flow, there they flow again. All things are full of weariness; a man cannot utter it; the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing.”

‭‭Ecclesiastes‬ ‭1:6-8‬ ‭ESV‬‬

And I didn’t wonder as much as before where they’d been

Or how they chose to go where they go or how they know anything at all.

About flying, about existing with no worry.

They just know.

They just know

whether I know anything for sure at all.

Like chasing after the wind or trying to measure the depth of the ocean with my toes.

Like trying to stroke the ebony feather of a beautiful bird, a crow.

Not a hawk, an eagle or raven.

But splendid in the sky, fantastic just for me and my stories all my own.

Like Solomon, I’m convinced it’s all complexity and it’s all worth ponder.

Brave and beautiful and curiously compelling.

Life and knowing.

Like a bird.

Knowing as they go.

Some things are worth knowing only a little or really nothing at all.

Like flying in the fog, it surely must be just knowing all is well, the wide sky is wider than they know.

“For in much wisdom is much vexation, and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow.”

‭‭Ecclesiastes‬ ‭1:18‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Tomorrow I’ll consider the raven, the sparrow, the birds playing in the wintry shrubs.

And I’ll be satisfied in knowing the so little I know.

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.

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?