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?

From 1 to 700 or More – Good Things

Last night my husband agreed.

You’re not tech savvy, are you?

I’m not. I don’t worry over linking my Pandora to a blue tooth speaker. Oddly, curious over this blog though, this morning I delved into the tab marked stats.

The same husband who pointed out my ineptness over speakers told me he read my blog the night before.

His comment?

How was Panera?

One thing for sure, he’s predictable, and a non-restaurant dining fan.

Oh well.

I began blogging in 2014. The most viewed post had 127 views. I began with 1 follower and five years ago had over 2700 viewers in some way shape or form.

I wrote about work, about suicide, about my children, our dogs, about my growing understanding and often doubtful relationship with God.

I had a tendency to center my content. I guess I thought that was cute (?)

It was unnecessary and well, amateurish and unskilled. I began using my own photos back then and I still do. I sort of love this way.

My most read post was about my children and a blogger who had asked for prayer for her son.

Read here:

Most read in 2014

I’ve come a long way. It’s nice to see my writing is an indication of this.

I am glad I kept blogging. It could have easily been just one of those trendy things I copied my daughter on.

She, once was a blogger. She shared such good words and beauty.

She and my son are very good writers. Maybe future bloggers, writers, story and wisdom sharers.

They’d say.

We got it from our mama.

And I’d say and mean it…”Well thank ya!”

I’ve come a long way.

They have too, daughter who teaches 1st graders and a sweet sweet mama to a little baby named Elizabeth.

Son who survived, no excelled at The Citadel, a military college and is in the home stretch of grad school for CPA.

Both are well and love me well.

Both have grown.

Haven’t we all?

Happy New Year with new chances for good writing, good things, just good!

Thank you, important to me, precious reader!

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.

One or Both?

I’ve just scribbled out the words to my December newsletter.

Months ago I considered quitting.

Quitting because of my perception of a very low number of readers.

Okay, not perception.

Reality.

Now, I’m in a new place.

Not just a cute ending to a post but a decision.

Continue.

Continue and believe.

Still, there are timely decisions to be made and those decisions don’t feel insignificant.

They feel like the can’t avoid nudging in my journey in writing and in art.

Deadlines and expiration dates, a place that’s not working when people ask

where can I find your art?

And I’m so unskilled when it comes to technology.

Plus, I’m not rich.

I am leaning in to 2020 with the awareness of the need to be more visible.

More confident…a little less quiet?

To take myself seriously.

To understand that’s not pride; but, it is that same surrender.

Surrender, the word you keep circling in your journal.

Surrender and acceptance of God’s call for me to continue.

Create art and words that tell redemption’s story.

Emanate from the mercy you’ve been shown while making others curious over God.

Curious over mercy.

Advice?

I could use some.

Stick with WordPress and try again to make it a place for art and words?

Switch to just basic WordPress, no art, no buying, just blogging about God and love and small things?

Create a separate and clean space for art, commissions, engagement?

Professional.

I read or heard last week or the one before and I’m believing it:

To be an artist or any creative you must take your creativity seriously.

I’ll add my takeaway.

Others knew you when art or writing were just “hobbies” or eccentricities of you, you deep, you, inside your head too much. Many still believe this is true. Don’t be sidelined or offended.

Take your art seriously. Others will eventually. Often it’s strangers who believe most in you, the you you’re becoming.

If you’re one of my strangers, allow me to make this my Merry Christmas and Happy New decade and year to you!

Thank you!

Thank you for helping me continue!

I hope you do too.

Known Soul

“I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭139:14‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I step out and see the stars I called beautiful last night are concealed thickly.

The moon not nearly as spectacular with an iPhone 7 than my real life view, is big and spectacular.

You won’t see it in this photo.

It peeped through the clouds and their shape was like a little square surrounding it, like an opened box.

My thought?

I agree with God’s ideas.

I agree and am curious over God’s intentional forming of me, my physical form and my tender soul.

Yesterday, I sold two nudes. I talked with the buyer, a stranger about the evolving of my art.

The shape and shaping of me.

She was not interested and yet, I continued.

Perhaps for a more secure understanding, a clarifying for myself of God’s message.

Saying it is good to understand you are wonderfully made. It is good to be unashamed of your hips, your delicate shoulders, the lean one way or the other that has brought curiosity, even disapproval and notice of others.

These tiny framed views from behind of women resting, sitting, every one different are intriguing.

Makes others calm, draws the eye and the soul closer to our maker, I believe.

Bodies holding souls.

We are.

Souls only God fully knows.

I am listening. I am listening to His explanation of me.

My maker.

God knows.

Much is being said about the Enneagram and it’s all over the place, “What’s your number?”, the question of the day.

I was an avid listener although I have no books.

I determined I was a 4, no surprise to many and I took in every 4 podcast I could find, I listened, I spun with the ideas of my stances and stresses and how I’d always be this, just needed to know myself more.

And then I quit being pulled in, I quit listening to experts on me.

I told my cousin I tired of feeling doomed by my number, I tired even more though of the Enneagram talk feeling so cliquish, cultish, a sense of unable to understand ourselves wandering people barely able to survive on our own.

The curiosity and draw of me through the Enneagram had become an idol, a tad bit controlling.

Pulled from wanting to grow based on what God knew and knows of me.

My grad student son told me he’d never heard of it, didn’t need to know a number to know what was good in him and what he could improve.

Still, I kept teetering. Everyone was on the “number train”, I better keep riding.

Until I decided no, something feels like I’m losing my footing, going off the rails God has me on.

Something in the soul of me that is growing daily more translucently known and understood by God said stay away from this number knowing, its complexity is pulling you from me.

So, I’m not listening now.

I’m knowing God made me and life messed me up, detoured my route, caused me to muzzle my soul with my physical choices and torments.

The soul is so quiet.

And yet so very vocal.

So strong.

Such an articulate speaker of me.

I shall listen to my soul and know the wonderful me made by God, understood by God.

I’ll keep pursuing the closeness of me to God, and according to my soul.

He understands me.

No need for numbers or books or trending conversations, not for me, at least.

I’m done perplexing over the complexity of me. Instead, I’ll celebrate my intricacies and know every tiny bit is God’s idea, my soul shall sing its one and only song.

Continue and believe.

No more fixing of me by me.

Your Gift

Whether you believe or not

It is true.

You’re gifted.

Your gift?

Your story, the truth of it, what that truth has taught you, what God desires you not keep boxed up.

Your gift is your belonging because of or despite your story.

You’re gifted with stuff you should never stuff down

Nor keep tightly wrapped

Nor keep it hidden in the darkness of your heart.

The events that made you, the hard, the happy, the glorious.

There are times I believe it’s essential to remember the before things, it’s beneficial to not forget the ugly so that you can smile when you communicate to others the pretty.

I told a story twice yesterday. The story of this drawing, a drawing in my Bible, a print I call a “margin girl”.

The professional gently turned the pages of my Bible, she positioned the page on the scanner.

With the first of my five she asked what I called it and I answered.

Made well.

The drawing depicts the story of the woman who touched the hem of Jesus’s garment and was made well.

We examined the print closely together, the lines so clear, the color so vivid.

I thanked her.

I told her that this is one of my favorite stories.

She paused and said she didn’t know it.

So I told her.

I told her I wonder if the color is too graphic, the deep red that encircles the woman’s gown that represents blood, years of incapacitating menstrual flow.

She listened as I continued with remembering how Jesus was intentional in finding her. He wanted her to know her faith had made her well.

Told her.

Go in peace.

Later, I sold this print and three others. I stood with two women who knew this story and now, the story of God and my art.

Now, they know that little bit of my story.

Not kept hidden, wrapped tight or concealed for dread of paralyzing trigger.

No, our stories are gifts.

We’re gifted and we’re givers.

Share your story, feel your soul open wider, your heart expand to allow others in.

Know the glow they’re seeing, the soft fire in your eyes.

No, you don’t see what they see.

But, oh my goodness you surely feel it.

So, that thing or things that made you stronger, wiser, sure ‬‬and surer of mercy and grace?

Give it to others.

“And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭7:50‬ ‭ESV

Your gift.

Share and give.

And continue.

Continue and believe.