The Way We Were and Are

Abuse Survivor, bravery, grandchildren, hope, memoir, Redemption, testimony, Vulnerability, wonder, writing

Warning, this post is maybe “too much Lisa”.

Leslie and I

I’ve been thinking about this photo all day. My college roommate and friend from the early 80’s sent this with a note, “found this today”. I was eating lunch with my granddaughter. We were talking about yummy bread and tomatoes.

I see I loved bracelets even back then and I remember how much she loved her VW. She was pink, khaki and green preppy. I see I must’ve been a little artsy. I notice the perm. I see my resemblance to both my mama and my sister, my daughter and son.

I see the tiny waist. I remember how little I ate, how much I ran twice a day.

I think of us, separately and together, how we both struggled, grew distant; but, she bravely began our new conversation.

I see me so tiny and remember I had such hatred for myself. I see her so bubbly and know only a tiny bit of not so bubbly days.

I see women now in their 60’s who know healing comes from forgiveness and more than forgiving others, it’s about forgiving ourselves.

So, skinny me no longer, maybe it’s time to stop rushing past the mirror and stand still for just a bit to consider, look where time, loss, grief, babies, defeat, trying again, fear met by bravery that said “continue” has brought you here…

Grace thus far has been the grace you’ve decided you can finally give yourself.

I never thought a thrown away art scholarship because of uninvited trauma (I still don’t like the “R” word) and eating disorder would have been so mercifully generous to say it’s not too late, paint.

You’re an artist.

I never thought a friend I haven’t seen since 1980 or so would keep a photo marking our bond.

Believe it, redemption is never ending and there’s nothing our loving God can’t make new.

Today, I met an artist in her home. She grew up in the landscapes of my favorite artist, Andrew Wyeth. She lives alone. Her husband is not well.

She invited me in.

I accepted.

Old me wouldn’t have.

But, tea time was at 3:00 and so, she, my granddaughter and I had tea and cream cheese pound cake.

And an almost three year old sat between two artists, two women who might’ve given up on themselves, but we’re not…and never ever on our art.

And she was listening.

To our encouragement of each other

Create, keep creating.

You’re not finished, only just beginning.

By faith and grace.

Redemption is a thing.

We Don’t Know

Angels, Art, Children, curiousity, daughters, family, grace, grandchildren, heaven, memoir, Prayer, Stillness, wisdom, wonder

“For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish:”
‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭2:15‬ ‭KJV‬‬

People watching must be a generational thing. Gift or curse?

It can go either way.

My granddaughter loves to sit on the front steps, at the foot of the walking trail, on every bench on the sidewalk of every busy street or tiny town square.

She’s watching.

Cars, people, birds, puppies or any thing that captures her curious attention.

My grandmother was the same.

Plus, she’d strike up a conversation with any stranger she’d catch in a pause. They’d be trapped into listening. She might talk about us, or she might talk about her two daughters or she might just go on and on about embroidery or fabric or her support pantyhose the doctor prescribed.

Yesterday, I complained to others and myself about a woman who invited herself to my lunch table. She reeled me in talking about painting. My voice joined in. We compared our stories about creativity.

But, then she kept on.

And on and my information overload anxiety coupled with my not so sweet fatigue of “too much peopling” likely began to show on my face.

Soon, their lunch was done and her husband introduced himself to a lone diner, an older gentleman in plaid shirt and old black glasses, shoes worn down from shuffling.

I noticed.

He was thrilled when the woman began talking. There was no disdain over too much peopling as they lingered at the bar.

Later, my daughter and I shared similar but separate stories. Two women in two different grocery stores we concluded were wealthy because of their attire and because of the cash in hand. But, both wore signs of something wrong in their expression, something that said wealth or whatever couldn’t fix it.

I wondered.

I remembered the lunch counter talker, the way she’d comforted her husband as she shared just enough information for me to know that he’s a cancer patient. I remembered her caress of his bandaged and blood dried arm. I thought of her whispering something as she looked closely at the bend near his elbow.

The grocery store women, the waitress with the earrings in her cheeks for dimples, the woman who talked too much in the restaurant.

All made in the image of God.

Sheep like me in need of the shepherd.

In need of someone to talk to ‘cause we’re lonely, in need of grace as provision when what we own isn’t enough, in need of acceptance when we long to be accepted.

Myself, in need of a sweet repentance when my conclusions about others are tainted by anything other than love.

A love that loves to notice, invites conversation and a love that is patient and tolerant, curious authentically even

When “peopling” feels too much.

Lord, help my noticing of others always have the aroma of love.

And help me continue this “generational love of peopling ” that my Grandma started.

We miss you down here, Doris Evelyn Peacock.

With A Song

birds, Children, confidence, contentment, coronavirus, courage, curiousity, family, grandchildren, hope, memoir, Peace, praise, Redemption, Vulnerability, walking, wisdom, wonder

“And Job died, an old man, and full of days.”
‭‭Job‬ ‭42:17‬ ‭ESV‬‬

The dark age spot on my right cheek has garnered by granddaughter’s attention. She’s announced to her mama that I need to see her doctor.

She’s reached the age of noticing, good things, flaws and unspoken thoughts too.

Last week, I saw a little boy I first met in 2019. He remembered me. He announced to his mama, big sister and me, “She looks older!”

We laughed at his precocious behavior and I came back with “Well, I’ve been through some stuff…you know…Covid!”

Then we all just nodded towards one another and got back to the reason I was there, a family adopting this sweet and observant sibling.

A trip through my phone’s photos confirmed my aging. But, also how the world gone awry because of pandemic changed other things too.

Try it.

Look back, see if your face and others’ seemed to see things differently back then.

2017, 2018 and ‘19 early.

Less vacant expressions as now, less steely clinched jaws in posing, less uncertainty in linking arms in photos and less open and freely given embraces.

More hesitance, more lost eyes seeking something, what…

Who knows?

Less of need to tout your faith that was bigger than fear. More sure of sure footing and solid faith.

So much more sure, it was less necessary to announce it. I suppose I should say what’s clear, these words are realizations of myself.

Someone will know maybe upon reading this. Was Job sitting in a pile of sorrowful ash-covered questions the entire book of the Bible marked by his name?

Job, a man who honored God was the chosen soldier of faith to see if he’d surrender the battle or hold on unwaveringly to his relationship with Holy God and faith.

Stricken by the trial and test, his life gone awry.

His wife told him give up and die; his friends hung with him for a bit until saying clearly it’s you that’s wrong.

“And they sat with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his suffering was very great.”
‭‭Job‬ ‭2:13‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I wonder if he just kept sitting, unable to stand when his friends became devoid of empathy, questioned his plight.

“But now it has come to you, and you are impatient; it touches you, and you are dismayed. Is not your fear of God your confidence, and the integrity of your ways your hope?”
‭‭Job‬ ‭4:5-6‬ ‭ESV

Monday was a dark blue day, I named it. By evening the blue lifted.

Tuesday, before breakfast, we baked a promised cherry pie and then “skipped to my Lou my darlin’” together.

Something’s happening, last month it was chocolate meringue. Little things, joyously small, sweeter than the cliche’, I’m doing them, I’ve decided.

Baby steps towards allowing joy, being less afraid something or some world event will snatch it away.

My wondering over the trials of Job came as we set out barefooted. The ground was cool and my granddaughter ran way ahead, stopping here and there to gather sticks.

I’m a lover of his story, longing to understand more is the pull of me towards my Bible. I’ll not find details of when he found the strength to stand up, but I can still wonder and I can allow his struggle and recovery to help me recover.

How long was his lamenting conversation with God and was his rising again gradual or all of a sudden…were his feet weak and prone to wobbling or was his recovery smooth and sudden?

I told my cousin yesterday, I feel like we’re all in recovery and we’re apt to slip ups, prone to dismay. We need to say so, if just to ourselves and wait, watch and know the fog will lift, we will see clearly how to walk again.

I’m growing, but not fully grown. I’m walking with strong stride and steady steps, but still not able to walk on my own.

We wound our soft sticks together into an oval, twisted the knotty vines and tangled branches. I carried hers and she, mine.

Laid them on the counter among the flattened wildflowers from our pockets and we drank lemonade on the porch steps together.

Singing a silly sweet song and talking to the crows

This world is not my home, I’m just a passin’ through and you belong among the wildflowers, Lou, Lou skip to my Lou

became our Tuesday song.

“I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.”
‭‭Job‬ ‭42:2‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Sing your song. Walk on.

Stay With It

Art, bravery, Children, confidence, contentment, courage, curiousity, Faith, grace, grandchildren, hope, patience, Peace, Redemption, Stillness, Vulnerability, wonder, writing

Last week, I added paint to the largest canvas I own and then added more only to cover it all in a veil of watery white. The original didn’t say what I wanted. I don’t yet know what I want it to exude, suggest or be a place for that story to be displayed.

I set it aside. No hurry, it will be there. I’ll not regret my decision that the first felt wrong, I’ll stay with it, in time it will come.

“Nothing good comes by force.”

This three page practice of writing is subtly changing me deep within, with my faithfulness to it.

“Most of the time when we are blocked in an area of our life, it is because we feel safer that way.” Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way

I’m late to this book. That’s okay, I’m sticking with it.

Every morning, I write the names of my children, circle them individually and then loop them together, encircled. There’s no magic in this practice, only a commitment to continue.

There’s not a greater sense of assurance of God’s provision towards them, of goodness beyond my control. No, it’s really simple.

It’s an act of service, an act of love, my choosing to stay with it, this act of subtle intention.

By choosing this unspoken and barely articulated prayer, a comfort has come.

Love is not selfish. Stay with it.

The kitchen counter was covered with every cookbook my daughter owns with a little girl dressed like Cinderella plopped in the middle.

There was no recipe for cake for which the pantry had all the ingredients. So, we decide together with a bit of exuberance,

Chocolate meringue pie!

Cocoa powder, sugar, flour, milk, butter and egg whites all imperfectly measured were stirring together in the mixer sans vanilla extract and cream of tartar for little mountains of meringue.

Standing at the stove, an excited little chef beside me, I realized my wrong. I mixed everything together when I was supposed to add the eggs later.

I kept stirring the watery muddy mixture. She asked “Is it ready?”

Not yet. I kept stirring and glancing over at her and the mess we’d made, multiple bowls, measuring cups, egg carton and sprinkled flour.

I kept stirring, making up how I’d make it up, “Sorry, grandma did it wrong.” I’d tell her and then we’d either paint or play or I’d climb into the “jumpy house” with her.

But, it thickened. I’d lowered the flame and kept stirring and slowly, slowly and by surprise, I achieved filling for a chocolate pie!

Chilled and poured into the waiting crust, we added the translucent mixture for meringue.

Later, we shared a slice and celebrated.

Delightful, pure delight it was.

What if what you’re afraid won’t come true actually might? What if doubt takes up so much space in your mind that when delight comes gently knocking, you barely believe it.

You don’t let it in?

May His abundance never scare you, the possibility of it, the thought that it just can’t be true.

May you know its truth.

May you fathom what you decide is too beautiful to fathom.

May the peace you see in others allow you to never lose the same wonderful peace inside of you.

May others see peace in you that you don’t always see yourself.

It’s not of your making, but it’s every second there.

Stay with it, the way of love, peace and waiting. The way of enduring hope.

Of even more grace.

The way of continuing and believing.

“You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus,”
‭‭2 Timothy‬ ‭2:1‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I’ll return to the large canvas when it is ready for my peaceful intention. I have an idea.

It’s fresh and new, its perspective

There’s no rush. Only that I choose to stay with it, to not fear the size of canvas or the abundance of its story.

Never lose your wonder, my prayer for you.

God is good, still very good.

Light and Life, These Days

Angels, birds, confidence, contentment, courage, curiousity, Faith, grace, grandchildren, memoir, Peace, Prayer, rest, Stillness, Vulnerability, waiting, wisdom, wonder

I wonder if I’m more observant of the light because of darkness so early or if it’s a needy seeking of quietness with myself leading to peace with God.

I found a feather next to the pretty bottle we store our found feathers, my granddaughter’s sweet solution I adore.

Left for Finding
Light of the World
Known

“In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
‭‭John‬ ‭1:4-5‬ ‭NIV‬‬

And God said, “Let there be light.” and there was light. Genesis 1:3 ESV

Thinking of light and darkness like knowledge vs. mystery or questions vs. answers, certainty vs. doubt, I found John 1 and had a quiet little cry.

We don’t know it all, but we do know light, love and hope.

Light is trust.

“We are conformed to Him in proportion as our lives grow in quietness, His peace spreading within our souls.” T.T. Carter, Joy & Strength devotional

In quiet confidence is your strength. (Isaiah 30:15)

Heritage

Abuse Survivor, bravery, Children, contentment, courage, curiousity, daughters, Faith, family, grandchildren, memoir, Redemption, sons, Trust, Vulnerability, wisdom, wonder
Knowing Comfort

There’s comfort in understanding more clearly. There is new perspective found in new knowledge.

I calculated the years of my daddy’s life events one evening. I recalled the information about the grandfather I never met, the details of his murder.

My older brother is good at research. He is skilled in looking into causes of things. He’s intelligent and a seeker of knowledge.

As I read of the circumstances of my father’s father’s death and then his mother’s passing later, I felt a veil lift, a veil that brought empathy, greater understanding.

From my calculations based on my father’s obituary and the details my brother shared,

My daddy was 13 when his daddy was taken from him. He grew into adulthood with his mama and siblings then went to Korea for how long, I don’t know.

He came home from war. Two days later, his mama died of a massive stroke. The grandmother I wish I’d known, along with the grandpa who contributed to the handsome man with the gentle spirit

And at times, tortured soul. No surprise.

I began to think of how life is such a mix of mystery and truth, vague recollections of family dynamics we just gloss over, afraid to look bravely enough at the vulnerability and pain of those we knew and know.

There’s a story buried, deeply concealed under most everyone’s story.

I believe this.

There’s me and three siblings who have raised wise children, children who are resilient even if they’re unclear how come. There are grandchildren who deep within have a yet untapped stream of strength from whence they don’t yet know.

I believe this.

Today, I sit with a sleeping kitten close by. I smile as I think this wouldn’t surprise my mama or daddy, even those long lost grandparents.

I smile because I imagine them wondering what took you so long to accept the truth of you.

The quiet one who is most satisfied quiet, the complex one always hoping someone will understand. The creature much like a cat, letting others near on her own terms.

I imagine my grandmother seeing me making notes and writing in my Bible. I see them all content in their contribution to who I am and who I’m becoming.

I see them happy about the heritage I’m creating for my children and grandchildren, even if messy or often unsure, always unseen, but hopefully remembered, my prayers.

They see, alongside my Father, my secret prayers.

Mystery and truth, I’ve come to believe that’s life,

life as a follower of Jesus who keeps following and life as a human in this wrought with pain world.

In the margin of Deuteronomy’s chapters, I find sketches of women, underlined reminders of being humbled by God.

I find a drawing of a door with the words above it “the secret things belong to the Lord.”(Deuteronomy 29:29)

I see notes to self to “pray big prayers”. I discover a sketch of the earth with my words “In His hands we dwell.”

The book of Deuteronomy, a retelling of the teachings of God by Moses, a reluctant teller of stories, a rescued child chosen by God although he was certain he was unworthy.

I see God in the history, mystery and truth of my family. I pray the same is said in the mystery of me.

“The Lord heard you when you spoke to me, and the Lord said to me, “I have heard what this people said to you. Everything they said was good. Oh, that their hearts would be inclined to fear me and keep all my commands always, so that it might go well with them and their children forever!”
‭‭Deuteronomy‬ ‭5:28-29‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Continue and believe.

Overcomers, we are.

A heritage.

“And he brought us out from there, that he might bring us in and give us the land that he swore to give to our fathers.”
‭‭Deuteronomy‬ ‭6:23‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Choose Today

bravery, confidence, contentment, courage, depression, doubt, grace, grandchildren, Holy Spirit, Peace, Redemption, Trust, Vulnerability, wisdom
Love is Yours

After the sleepover, I discovered my granddaughter had placed the little heart in the little hand.

I remember being captivated by my grandmother’s things, wanting to hold them.

Longing to understand their worth, her little trinkets, her jewelry, her talcum powder and Jergen’s cherry lotion.

They were her.

I woke this morning with a few words

“Choose this day, choose life or death.”

Incline Your Heart

I found the passage in the Old Testament, the historical account of Joshua’s life.

The battle of Jericho, the passage telling us to be strong and courageous, God is with us.

And this one, with the last few words you may find in a home, often a gift for newly married.

“And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell.

But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
‭‭Joshua‬ ‭24:15‬ ‭ESV‬‬

These are strong exhortations to people in battle, to choose God’s way or the other gods of their history.

For me, they mean simply “choose life” today.

Choose love or fear. Choose trust over doubt. Choose bravery over insecurity.

Choose to not forfeit your day to anxiety or depression over uncontrollable circumstances.

Choose to be light rather than heavy.

To let be what will be with a satisfied spirit.

Grace is enough. The grace you’ve known and the overflow that is promised.

Choose forgiveness over fretting.

Choose Today

…incline your heart to the Lord. Joshua 24:33

The little heart still rests in the hand.

The heart left on my doorstep by my pastor as a love offering in sympathy of my mama’s passing tells me

Love goes on.

I notice my orchid, revived and repotted has tiny tissue paper buds this morning.

Life continues.

Choose today.

Choose to live.

Paths of Our Choosing

Abuse Survivor, bravery, confidence, contentment, courage, doubt, Faith, freedom, grandchildren, Peace, Redemption, testimony, Vulnerability, wisdom, wonder

“When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭4:12‬ ‭NIV‬‬

I’m remembering just now, my grandmother took us all walking. The cousin weekend retreat always included a walk on the curvy clay road.

How had it not realized the resemblance until now…the deep ditches covered in growth, the ditches we’d jump in and stand still like statues until the old truck passed by?

My grandmother commanding, “Hit the Ditch”.

How we remember becomes how we see.

I’m reading two new books, one fiction the other non. One discovered and one recommended, “Sugar Birds” by Cheryl Bostrom and “Your Stories Don’t Define You” by Sarah Elkins.

Barely into either, I am learning.

Ideas like telling your story to and through others and the power of memories we give ourselves permission to explore more deeply, building a better story.

When my granddaughter and I walk, we sing a little song about staying safely in the middle and we’ve made a game of jumping over roots instead of getting tangled.

Yet, when I walk alone, the neighborhood walking trail or the sharp turn on the busy road, I’m less cautious, in a way a stubborn walker.

The trail is disrupted by large old roots. I walk swiftly and keep on even though on a few occurrences the toe of my shoe butts up against the thick branch and I catch myself from falling face first.

It occurs to me it’s a stubborn resilience, this choice.

It occurs to me now I choose the dangerous path because I’ve decided it’s still my assignment to not be defeated by it.

Later, I’ll walk the trail and I’ll will myself off the broken up paved path and step aside to walk a few steps on the soft grass.

I can give myself permission to choose softer, I can decide to be welcome there, the place of choosing easy over hard, peace in regards to my past instead of handicap.

Be well today.

Enjoy your new path.

Treasures

Art, birds, Children, Children’s Books, Faith, grandchildren, hope, Peace, Trust, Vulnerability, wisdom, writing
Crayons and Cardinals

Today’s prompt word, “Treasure” was on my mind bright and early on the country road.

The humidity hanging on a couple more days made my windshield foggy and the road ahead a misty haze.

I switch from dim to bright, to see clearly up close or farther ahead but blurry, I kept trying to decide.

A little or closer to seeing all.

I notice few other morning travelers. I drive slowly, no obnoxious impatient people behind me. No approaching lights undimmed on one of the many curves.

I can’t decide if I’m old or more careful, more slow or more cognizant of what I’ve committed to, what’s required of me.

I chose music over words and a Pandora station different than other mornings.

A song I’d never heard nor the artist led my morning on. Simple words.

A treasure, the refrain.

“I don’t have much to give. But, I give you my beating heart.”

A song about what matters to God, how so very little is so very much.

I won’t despise the day of small things. (Zechariah 4:10)

I thought of a surprising conversation yesterday. I’d asked an agent in a zoom call whether self-publishing a children’s book gives credibility to an author seeking to publish adult nonfiction traditionally.

There was no “Oh, tell me about your book” or an approving nod that says you’re on the right track.

No, neither of those, none of that.

Only, “only mention your book if your sales have been 5000 books.”

Oh.

Well, good to know, I suppose.

I love “Look at the Birds”, every single word, every color on the pages, every thought that clicked to birth the story and illustrations.

I felt a mixture of naivety and betrayal. Familiar thoughts.

This is when I remember my husband says I’m prone to believing life is a fairy tale.

Maybe or maybe just hopeful.

My heart beat a little faster yesterday when I saw a friend had my book on her coffee table. My soul welled up this morning when my granddaughter said “my Jesus, your Jesus too.”

Like the foggy barely lit road of morning, we see just enough to know the smallest treasured thing is the thing that brings the flutter of a heart well known, well loved and treasured.

Follow your heart for direction more than your misguided ideas of being known, seen or valuable.

“For your heart will always pursue what you esteem as your treasure.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭6:21‬ ‭TPT‬‬

Know what matters. Songs in the early private morning, a crayon in the hand of a child, a conversation with a friend who sat close by, listened and understood.

Treasures. All of them.

Continue and believe.

Unwaveringly Believing

Angels, bravery, confidence, contentment, Faith, grandchildren, memoir, Redemption, rest, Salvation, testimony, Trust, Truth, Vulnerability

As a child so much of the Bible scared me.

I thought that was its intent, especially the Book of Revelation. Can you relate?

Angry preachers and their warnings with the intention of frightening me towards God.

My twenties changed to avoidance altogether, no chance I’d dare to believe that punishment for my behaviors might be met with a full measure of mercy. Thirties brought hope, a timid hope that perhaps I could chance trusting, believing in a different way.

Here I am at sixty plus a year.

Going on a decade or so of steadiness in my seeking even if my walk isn’t always steady.

That’s the thing.

Unwaveringly and simply, I keep deciding moment by moment to believe God.

In my quiet and confident way.

In God who created me, saw me through choices and troubles that were not his intent for me.

Still, His intention is that I know now,

He never left me, never will.

Like the wings of angel draped around my shoulders, surrounding me in love.

I’ve been cared for. The foundation of my faith is His provision, protection, wisdom, mercy and grace.

When my days are complete. I want it to be said of me.

She kept believing in Jesus. She wasn’t afraid to live according to His Word.

“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.”
‭‭John‬ ‭15:11‬ ‭NIV‬‬

What did Jesus tell them, tells us through His recorded words?

Remain connected. Be a healthy and thriving branch of my goodness, mercy and love getting the nourishment to grow directly from me. (my paraphrase)

“…apart from me you can do nothing.”
‭‭John‬ ‭15:5‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Love everyone. Endure. Be found faithful.

Be met by God on your last day on earth this way.

Leave stories of your faith for your children and grandchildren. Live this way, Lisa.

Even when others drift away, make allowances for sin and avoid hard conversations.

Abide in me, stay.

You don’t have be a fighter, just be you, a gentle and steady believer,

A victor of the faith.

“Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.”
‭‭Revelation‬ ‭2:10‬ ‭ESV

Lord, thank you for the changes you’ve brought in me and keep bringing as I continue and believe.