Beauty, Earth and Everything

Art, Children, confidence, contentment, courage, curiousity, Faith, heaven, hope, memoir, painting, Peace, Prayer, Redemption, rest, Salvation, surrender, Vulnerability, waiting, wisdom, wonder, writing

I’ve removed the fifteen or more books from my nightstand.

Some of them read, some recommended, others opened and skimmed and set aside.

I’m hard on myself as a reader. I’m distracted and mostly too sleepy. They say a writer must be a reader.

Maybe that’s why I’m less afraid to paint.

To simplify. The nightstand now has one framed photo, a lamp, a pen with paper and a paperback collection of Psalms and Proverbs.

“How he satisfies the souls of thirsty ones and fills the hungry with all that is good!”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭107:9‬ ‭TPT‬‬

I’ve taken to the practice of reading at least one verse as soon as I’m settled in bed.

Some nights more. I thumb to the passage chosen by the date and the pages from notes compiled through the years are becoming my sedation, my self-help.

There are pencil scratches, black or blue ink faded to soft grey. There are bold underlines and tiny little star asterisks in places.

The summary of supplication, of suffering questions, or redirection of myself in an achingly sorrowful way.

Remorse, regret, confusion and occasionally a determined commitment to peace, the words warn, these are best kept secret.

Much like Job may have felt, I imagine if he sat with the pages that detailed his friends calling out his wrongs and his reply incessantly saying,

But, none of this makes sense. Why me?

I feel like Job was just that honest.

If you find your old journal or Bible, do you find your honesty to be hard or do you see it as simply honest?

Do you see how far you’ve come or are you hard on yourself that some days you still hurt to comprehend some things?

I fell asleep with a revelation the other night.

I’d read my prayers scrawled in the old book. Concerns so very intimate that only God and I knew and know the reasons.

I realized I had such a yearning for God back then.

I realized I still do.

The thought of my laments and longings documented with pencil or pen gave me a new idea, a different peace.

I was a seeker. I still am.

My soul ached with yearning.

It still is.

I decided it is a good thing to be still yearning, to not be satisfied in who I’ve become, to be certain God’s still what my heart yearns for and the goodness of His gifts to me, to my family, beauty made of so many hard things.

The words to a song you won’t hear on the radio seem to pop up on my Pandora quite often lately.

I drive the morning road, make it to the hill and curve on the dirt one and I slow my arrival because it happens!

The voice of Paul Beloche, so gently and assuredly reminding me of all the beauty God has made of my life already.

In A Million Years

Causing me to imagine the beauty of eternity that is heaven.

Have you pondered heaven more this year and last?

Maybe not, unless you’re 60ish like me. Have you clung less tightly to earthly hopes knowing they pale in comparison to the promises of heaven?

Do you believe in heaven or does it seem like a mysterious place that might be so?

Do you want your life on earth to be forever because there are so many hopes that haven’t come true just yet?

I do sometimes. There are some earthly things I hope to see come true.

You’d find those hopes in my little book if you had the chance to hold it, you might even find your name there.

On Tuesday mornings, I listen to Emily P. Freeman’s podcast, “The Next Right Thing”. Her voice is easy. Her tone is directive as well as gently suggestive. I tell myself “Listen”.

This week’s episode was more practical than prose, a night time ritual that would better our sleep. I recommend it, listen here:

The Next Right Thing

She gave a helpful list with one thing being to ask yourself at the end of the day,

“Where did I see God today?”

Naturally, I loved this, it’s might kind of deep thinker thing.

Tuesday was a “grandma day”. It was so sweet and easy and it was a gift the way the simplicity of the day fell into place.

The moment?

We sat together in the cool castle building dirt spot. To pass the time ‘til Mama drove up, I taught the baby to sift sand from one hand to the other. Teaching maybe the wrong word, I just did it and she followed.

From one hand to the other we just passed the sand between our hands. She looked up, longer than usual, looked deeply into my eyes in a way that said, “This is sublime.”

Yes, this was when I saw God.

God with us.

Heaven met earth and situated itself with us in the Springtime dirt.

Yearning for me not to miss such a beautiful moment on a blue sky day.

And I didn’t and I pray I don’t from now on.

“Therefore he is able, once and forever, to save those who come to God through him. He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf.”
‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭7:25‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Lord, may our earthly days cause our longing for you more every day even as we yearn for the incomprehensible promise of heavenly days promised by you.

He keeps his promises.

Continue and believe.

Yearning is peace.

Already Known

Abuse Survivor, Art, birds, Children, Children’s Books, contentment, courage, Faith, family, grace, grandchildren, hope, Redemption, rest, Stillness, Trust, Vulnerability, waiting, wonder, writing

It’s become the norm for me to wake with a lyric or a verse. I know the song and it sets my tone. I open my Bible app and search for the verse if other thoughts don’t get me off course.

The promise of today is bright sunshine and the Labrador returns with the ball jammed into his cheek. I step outside and decide just a couple of tosses. It’s still too cold, early Friday morning.

Fully Known and Loved

He’s satisfied and so am I. I turn to go inside, my feet numb from the cold hard ground and I see the beauty of what seems to be an overnight changing to green.

I find myself wondering if God is aware. Of my waking on a Friday morning after sleeping hard from unacknowledged exhaustion.

Did God know I’d wake up with the words to a song by J.J. Heller, “You Already Know”? (Yes, I adore her.) Did God know I’d be standing barefoot and I’d listen to Him reminding me of the dangers of comparison?

Does God know how many blades of grass surround my feet? Is he aware of every rain drenched fallen camellia? I believe so.

“But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭10:30-31‬ ‭ESV‬‬

We are important to God. Courage and trust are the evidence of our embracing this as belief.

Hagar, a pregnant mistress in the Old Testament, used by others to fulfill a longing, felt abandoned, rejected, unnecessary. She longed to escape the bitter condemnation of Sarah. She fled into the wilderness.

God met her there. He pointed out the water she’d been thirsting for.

I wondered this morning if she’d been standing near the flow of water and couldn’t hear it or if she’d become so worried, afraid, confused and maybe angry over how her life’s direction had pointed towards self-destruction, that she couldn’t see the provision of God waiting there.

So, God pointed it out. She was changed by seeing that she’d been seen herself.

“So she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, “You are a God of seeing,” for she said, “Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.””
‭‭Genesis‬ ‭16:13‬ ‭ESV‬‬

In a few weeks, a children’s book illustrated and written by me will be available. I may have chances to share its backstory, a story I only recently realized but God already knew.

“Look At The Birds” is a book born of talks with my granddaughter about birds and talks between God and me about worry, worth and trust.

The Birds

It’s a book with a mission of helping children understand their value is determined by Jesus and no one or no place else.

It’s a message God longed for me, the wife, the mother, grandmother, the author, the artist, to begin to finally embrace.

Maybe other adults too.

Solace There

Children, confidence, contentment, daughters, Faith, family, grace, grandchildren, hope, mercy, Peace, sons, Vulnerability, wisdom, wonder
Welcoming Peace

I drive the trio of two lane roads to my morning destination, a right turn, a right turn and another and a final sharp right that leads me on clay road with deep moss covered ditches holding up deeper rooted trees.

I think of my children. Mamas of adult children do this, just are less apt to share so much.

More inclined to keep the thoughts to ourselves as if we’re not supposed to have them.

I think of the vast differences of the two, a daughter and a son. Different locations, one like the mouse called country and the other called city.

Likeness in their initiative, their determination, their deeply instilled must have passed from parents and grandparents, work hard, work is a representation of you.

It’s an odd thing to want to quell honorable ambition, to encourage them not to do too much, to not exhaust themselves.

Hard because you remember the you they saw as a professional, the little girl and boy who didn’t quite understand it all maybe, just knew their mama worked hard at hard things.

So, you encourage self-awareness, you hint at balance, you warn of self-care and of being certain you know it’s not work that gauges your value, it is peace at the end of the day and again the next morning.

My mornings have a pattern now. Read something in my Bible, sip coffee, write some things down, circle the names.

On two or three days I drive in the dark and on good days I’m not tailgated or blinded by truck lights undimmed. I arrive and situate myself for the day, a visitor and helper.

If there is time and the Spirit leads, I pray. I watch the windows and listen for the waking child.

I anticipate the sun rising across the wide sky. I step outside and say “Good Morning, God”. Later, I do the same with the baby.

“For thy mercy is great above the heavens: and thy truth reacheth unto the clouds.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭108:4‬ ‭KJV‬‬

On Tuesday, the sky was only grey mixed with clouds dispersing to bring the morning. Clouds like in a children’s picture book, fat white fluffs with underbellies defined with thick crayon.

Made me think I could grab one.

The clouds that shifted all day that began with not a whole lot of tangerine hue, instead a spew of sparsely filtered white either coming down from heaven to us or reaching back up.

Either way, I noticed. I noticed God.

I stood and honored it, the way God substituted happy orange for quiet iridescence.

Solace.

I woke remembering today.

Remembering conversations with my children, the authenticity of them, the timing, the words unafraid to be spoken, the replies of gratefulness and of

you’re welcome.

Welcomed in.

There is solace there.

Gratitude immeasurable there.

Mercy for mothering mistakes, the truth of us now with God’s grace covering them all and the acceptance of new days.

Continue and believe. Continue towards peace today.

There’s just so very much of it waiting.

Mud and Moon

Abuse Survivor, Children, contentment, courage, curiousity, Faith, grandchildren, Peace, Redemption, rest, Stillness, Vulnerability, waiting, wisdom, wonder

The moon is my favorite along with the color blue, the crescent curve and the hue called cobalt.

Crescent moon like a tilted uncertain smile, saying okay hang on, hang on.

And the cobalt like the ink from a broken pen, the thick fluid, jam from a jar.

I love the others, the sky, the teal, the baby; but, the strong cobalt calls me closer.

The half moon or the full in its brilliance are spectacular.

Still, I favor the crescent one.

Today, I watched a toddler persist. The country path that leads to her home had puddles of rain yet to dry up.

We walked towards one, I reminded her of her shoes, not her boots and she approached and then walked on.

One puddle, the largest of all and she paused.

She turned to find a pebble and then “plop” it went in the water and then she found a big brittle oak leaf.

Intent on tossing it into the puddle, she carefully skirted the edge of the muddy water.

But, the wind swept lightly across her little knees and then again and again, the brown leaf was swept up in the wrong direction.

I heard a little sound, like “umph” but, I saw her not frustrated, simply understanding.

Then she came from a new angle and she dropped the brown brittle leaf in the center of the puddle.

There!

Then, we walked on, “ready set go”.

I’m wondering now if there’s a color of water that I love, a thick colored watery taupe.

An oak leaf resting as we walk back by,

The cobalt of the morning sky allowing a strip of coral in.

My day began this way.

I welcomed the beauty, flipped my phone towards the windshield and I sensed the tone for my day.

Persist.

But, persist calmly. Consider what you value.

What you’ve decided decides your value.

Muddy water mid-morning then a cloudless blue sky against white spindly trees, I am reminded of the value I place on things decided by others.

The things I believe might mean my arrival. I remember now the persistence of a toddler when the wind was against her.

The wind picking up the leaf so lightly and the little hand that decided quietly,

keep trying.

Thoughts of an expression, “lightly child, lightly” reminding me to not try so hard that my trying becomes striving, obnoxious, an idol, not a quiet and important mission.

I am remembering the first time I read this thanks to a blogger friend, David Kanigan.

“It’s dark because you are trying too hard.
Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly.
Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply.
Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.” Aldous Huxley

A collision of faith, nature and wisdom plus the plucky persistence of a toddler.

What are you chasing? What have you not valued that is yours?

The writer of Ecclesiastes sounds much like Huxley to me.

Small matters matter.

More than chasing other, anything other than moon and sun and birds and mud puddles.

“I have seen everything that is done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a striving after wind.”
‭‭Ecclesiastes‬ ‭1:14‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Once More

Abuse Survivor, Art, bravery, confidence, contentment, Faith, Forgiveness, freedom, love, Peace, Redemption, rest, Vulnerability

I wear a T-shirt quite often, lots of times under a sweatshirt. Soft in color and fabric, across the chest are the words, “known and loved”. Wearing it feels like my little secret, the one thing I want to remember once more.

Known by God

Once my life was different than it is today. Once there were reasons to fear. Now, there are reasons to embrace not being afraid.

The woman caught in adultery found herself on display, a crowd had shown up to see her stoning. She waited. She knew the law of Moses. She anticipated the punishment.

The men invited Jesus into the discussion, into the abuse. He invited them to consider their own wrongs and sins of a sexual nature.

Telling the group, the one of you who’s never committed such acts, you can go first, I give you permission to commence the stone throwing.

Jesus waited. He wrote in the sand as the tension must have surely risen and the onlookers waited to see which among these men was perfect.

Jesus knew.

“And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground.”
‭‭John‬ ‭8:8‬ ‭ESV‬‬

The men turned and walked away, maybe the crowd dispersed. Jesus asked the woman if she realized what had just happened.

Her sin of adultery was known and yet, she escaped death by stoning.

He made sure she understood that she was known and loved, not known and condemned.

Once my life was different. Now I am known and loved.

She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”
‭‭John‬ ‭8:11‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Walk in the way of forgiveness. Know your heart in light of mercy. Who we are now matters more than who we once were.

Linking up with others prompted by the word “once”.

FMF Writing Prompt Link-up :: Once

Being Refined

Abuse Survivor, Art, bravery, confidence, courage, curiousity, Faith, Holy Spirit, memoir, mixed media painting, painting, Peace, Redemption, Stillness, Trust, Vulnerability, waiting, wisdom, wonder, writing
Beauty Remains

There’s an odd tree near my home. Its branches are grey and twisted and it half stands half reclines in an empty lot.

It is solitary with only tiny tender pines trying to begin their lives nearby, bright green fan like needles on the skinniest of branches.

I’m not an arborist. I know this tree is old, “gnarly” comes to mind. It has pods of some sort and pale white tiny blooms in the Spring. I’ve yet to see it produce a nut or fruit. It still has a few crinkly leaves furled and scattered.

It has lingered long.

Planted in the empty lot or the lot owned by someone and long neglected.

A decade or so ago I began to notice, this leaning tree keeps staying, fascinating me. It is steady although it has no real reason, not attended to by anyone other than God’s good rain and sun.

I’ve just gotten word from a gallery telling me thanks for your submission, our walls are full.

We have enough for display.

I downgraded from a website for my art to Etsy. The decision surprised me with the ease, and the peace, the still today peace is keeping me.

The desire to be an artist feels like an ache, a wound that keeps reminding you to take it slow, slow movements bring lasting health and renewed fervor.

This I know. The change is internal. I am being refined. I am growing. I know because this time, I have told this change, welcome, come on in, stay a bit.

A crazy thing happened on Sunday morning. I heard a sound above my head and thought, an animal in the attic…a big one. At last, I’d convince my husband and he’d believe me, those squirrels are living above our bed.

Later, I went to make the bed and discovered branches curled against my window. The pretty poplar tree had been uprooted by nature and leaned in a precarious way against our home.

Home alone, I walked out in rain boots and pajamas to see the bulbous root upturned and the trunk resting against a patio table. The discarded table saved our windows and our roof. The tree is now cut into pieces by our sweet son in law and only debris remaining.

I am wondering what caused it to fall.

Today, I read a passage in a devotional referencing a verse about being refined.

I will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried. Zechariah 13:9

I thought of what it means to be refined, how I’d always equated being refined with having more polish, more finesse, what had been started becoming a final result that stood out from the rest. To be refined would feel as close to perfection as possible, a pleasing object to gaze upon, a showpiece worthy of applause.

I know the metaphor of life’s trials and traumas being a symbol of the fire of the silversmith, the heat melting the substance so that it shines smoothly.

Deep Roots, the Gnarly Tree

I’m realizing it’s not about shining, the refining God wants us to understand and allow.

It’s an inside transformation, a change in our souls that leads to changes in mindsets and goals.

A change maybe we and God only know.

To be refined, all impurities are removed from a substance, it becomes internally pure.

A Canon named George Body, born in 1840 describes it this way,

“His loving eye is ever eagerly watching for the moment when the purifying work is done. Then, without a moment’s delay, He withdraws the fire, and the purified soul is removed from the furnace. See, again, it is when the image of Christ is reflected in us, so that He can see Himself in us as a mirror. Raise your eyes, then amidst the flames, and see the Face of Jesus watching you.” George Body

Stand like the old tree, stronger because of the nature of its own depth and fiber and because of the refining hand of God.

The strength is inner, the strength that was brave when it said call yourself an artist.

Keep creating.

“Love Story” 16×20

Keep it quiet. Keep it confident. Keep it grounded.

Remember, your theme is redemption.

Redemption, not kept to yourself.

Find me on Etsy (LisaAnneTindal)

Light of Heaven

Abuse Survivor, Angels, confidence, contentment, daughters, Faith, fear, Forgiveness, heaven, memoir, Peace, Redemption, Salvation, Trust, Truth, Vulnerability, wonder
Certain of Heaven

I wonder if we’d talked about Heaven would I have been better at it.

There’s a memory of my pre-pubescent days that lingers, leaves a lot of questions.

Saturday morning, my older brother and I and maybe the baby brother reported for duty.

(Here’s where I note, the memories are my own, my siblings’ are sometimes different, less or more.)

But, we’d arrive at the church and there would be a little preparation, pep talk, bellowing prayer sort of meeting.

No pants for girls were allowed, only skirts or culottes. I was shy, I was uncomfortable in my female skin. I wanted to do right, be loved and accepted.

We were transported to some big parking lot of a store and we paired up or if we were bold, we approached strangers alone.

We gave out the gospel tract that may have had a ruby faded flame depicting Hell on the front or a big bold question mark, prompting us to confront others about their salvation.

I don’t recall being very good at it. I hoped somehow I was good enough.

Last week or the week before, I felt afraid again. Someone mentioned the rapture. Another wrote about being certain those around you are certain of heaven.

I felt my spirit crouching, looking for a safe corner. Fear rose up.

I thought about why.

“The faculty of memory is particularly exquisite. I think there’s a secret to why God provided it.” John Eldredge, “Get Your Life Back”

I am certain of heaven, talk of it doesn’t scare me. It was simply the Saturday school of witnessing to strangers that scared me, a subtle trauma.

I began to think of a better approach. Although we were young people, little soldiers, what if we had begun our conversations with heaven?

I envisioned us all being schooled in a circled gathering. Inquisitive ones, looking towards our teacher. I see myself captivated by the hope of heaven, inspired, uplifted, casting off my despair.

Excited and at peace simultaneously. God smiling.

What if, way back then I had been trained in hope instead of fear?

Some things may have been different. My story not as meandering to be where I am today.

“Your story matters. Your story will not be lost.” John Eldredge

Angels Near

Years ago, I bought a Bible from an estate sale. It bothered me that it had been left so long. I decided I would find the family of this woman, I was confident they’d be thrilled to be discovered.

No luck.

I’ve kept the soft worn leather Bible that belonged to a young woman who was an art teacher and became a school principal.

Treasures in her Bible are her membership card as a National Educator, her PTA card, a litany for children, a lesson plan on color, a newspaper clipping announcing her promotion and a photograph of my mama at my wedding I decided belonged here.

A Red Cross membership card

In 1939, Angela renewed her Red Cross certification. My mama was born that year, January 30th.

I’ve read all the notes Angela wrote about her journey of faith in the pages of her Bible.

“We have to open our hearts to the workings of God.” Angela

Heaven is restoration. It is no longer needing to revisit old stories. We don’t see yet; but, in heaven we will see them as God intended. God, both the author and finisher of us.

“Lest we despair, God has given us a “future and a hope” and to be quite specific, it includes the restoration of every precious day of our lives. Heaven is not a memory wipe.” John Eldredge

If I had a do over from my childhood evangelist days, I pray I’d have the courage to look another in the eye. I pray I’d have the sweetest soul penetrating eyes and that my voice wouldn’t quiver a bit.

I pray I wouldn’t be wearing culottes.

And I’d say “Hey, how are you…wanna talk about heaven?”

Today marks the year eleven since my mama went to heaven. Too soon, I’m nine years away from that age.

I’m certain she is joyous. I’m sure every pain and heartache she experienced no longer remains.

I thought of heaven in a new way yesterday. I pray I continue.

I envisioned the reunion with someone who harmed me, brought havoc and years of pain.

I saw us seeing each other and I heard myself say.

“I’m so very happy you’re here.”

Angela’s Bible

“For the Lord himself will appear with the declaration of victory, the shout of an archangel, and the trumpet blast of God. He will descend from the heavenly realm and command those who are dead in Christ to rise first. Then we who are alive will join them, transported together in clouds to have an encounter with the Lord in the air, and we will be forever joined with the Lord. So encourage one another with these truths.”
‭‭1 Thessalonians‬ ‭4:16-18‬ ‭TPT‬‬

I am certain of heaven. I believe in the rapture because I believe the pain and redemption of Job, of Paul, of the woman caught in adultery, the short man who stole from others, the flooding of the earth and the obedience of Noah, and the gracious decision of God to make heaven possible by giving His Son as a sacrificial death and glorious resurrection.

So, I believe in the rapture. Believe in Jesus. I am anticipating heaven.

I’m aware of the angels today, Angela and Bette. I see them celebrating my choice to see hope and no longer despair.

Wanna talk about heaven with me?

It would be great joy. I want to know you’ll be there too.

Worthy of Finding

contentment, courage, doubt, Faith, grace, Trust, Vulnerability, writing

“The blind see again, the crippled walk, lepers are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised back to life, and the poor and broken now hear of the hope of salvation!”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭11:5‬ ‭TPT‬‬

Today I read the parables of the lost sheep, the lost coin and the wayward son who lost his way and was welcomed back home again. The one sheep among hundreds was important. The one coin found after hours of sweeping and searching was treasured and the prodigal son who stumbled back home certain of his unworthiness was celebrated.

I thought how easily I decide I’m unseen, that God has forgotten me, has either decided I’ve come as far as I can or that I’m now completely on my own.

Instead, like the one silver coin of ten, when God sees me finding Him again, it’s a joyous celebration.

I love to think about such small things, enlightenment from my Bible I may have missed before.

Like the one line in Matthew 11, “the poor and broken now hear the hope of salvation!”

I needed to hear this, my spirit weak and broken over dreadful thoughts and speculations.

My heart and my mind, fixed again, my broken spirit repaired.

“He heals the wounds of every shattered heart.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭147:3‬ ‭TPT‬‬

Now hear of hope.

Again.

Circle back and sense it. Go outside. Notice the breeze, gaze at what feels like nothing to find something broken or fallen, discarded.

Gather it up in your hands. Hold it. Find it and remember you are found by God when you quietly allow it.

Keep what you find, be joyful over being found.

I’m joining others in writing, prompted by the word “Fix”.

FMF