Peaches

Here’s how it goes around here. I paint abstract landscapes or girls angelic, occasionally a flower and a couple of days ago, 3 peaches. I have pencil sketches of a nude figure with a slightly askew bun. It’s beautiful, graceful and free, a departure for me.

Me: What does this painting make me you think of?

GT: Uhmmmm….A sky? Water? A woman? Sunflowers?

Me: Did you notice the peaches painting?

GT: Yeah, I saw the big peach, it was big.

Me: No, there are 3.

I suppose it’s a good thing he doesn’t get too much into the sanctuary of my “business” and that whatever I paint, yeah that’s good.

Like the time I spent a week trying to paint the likeness of Jimi Hendrix only to consistently find myself staring at James Brown.

He swore it was Jimi. It for sure wasn’t.

That piece was covered over with freedom and resulted in a woodsy set of illuminated pines.

I love the peaches, the three of them.

Sigh.

“Three Sweet Peaches” is available now. Other art can be purchased at Artisan Market and Decor in Aiken or at the award winning spot with Chef Brandon Velie, Juniper in Ridge Spring, SC. Y’all, you must dine there!

Accomplishing Little with God – Blog post #821

Have you ever known a leaf to sprout from a tiny brand new planted seed?

A seed like the ones we planted in paper Dixie cups and watched to see the bright tiny green come up from the black dirt?

The butter bean plant would sprout and then we’d watch granddaddy put it in the ground to wait expectantly for the beans.

Waiting back then was so sweet, shellin’ peas and beans and pulling up dirt covered peanuts to pluck them from the green stems as we sat in the back of an old truck.

And later with dirty hands and bliss, we’d eat huge bowls of briny deliciousness.

Maybe children understand process, maybe waiting was learned through simple participation.

Anticipation was not anxious, it was more moving a little closer to what we’d grown to know.

On Monday, God offered an option, pointed me towards a reprieve from my incessant seeking to hurry up and become what I had yet to see.

Pending needs were not being met by responses from others.

Getting things done meant waiting for others to deliver on their part to me.

Then Tuesday came like a gift of a day and I accepted it like the joy it was indeed.

I let unfinished business lie in the places I’d left it, the tasks, the obligations, my initiations towards finishes.

I stood in my morning kitchen and stared at my feet.

Fascinated by the calm colors, the image of me, steady and still, planted.

Told myself, today is for the baby, baby Elizabeth and your girl.

It was a good day for sure!

And now, here’s half a day gone, middle of the week Wednesday.

I’m at a standstill, a snail’s pace, dependent on others.

My to do list with no new strikethroughs!

Unfinished tasks on my mind and underfoot and uncertainty over the current vagueness of my vocation.

Paint, write, assist, consult…which way, which road?

Dropping hints about my skills and being available, my multiple seeds.

“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” Jesus

‭‭John‬ ‭12:24‬ ‭

Have you ever considered “waiting and trusting” a sacrifice?

The sacrifice God wants is my trust, for me not to meander away from who He says I am in futile attempts to hurry up and be a better version of me.

Have you let God plant you in the soil He intends to grow you or do you resist what seems like nothing, impatient and worried?

Has your identity changed, what you were known for been taken, now different?

Does it feel as if your thing you thought was yours has been stolen?

Is it hard to see that God has better for you because you’re so attached to before?

To accomplishing much?

My mama used to say “Turn the page.”

God is saying, I think to me, “Plant new seeds.”

He knows you, knows me. His ways are deeper and higher. His soil is richer.

Know Him, know the best version of you.

Also on Monday, I discovered I have 820 blog posts out in the world.

I have no desire to perform any sort of comparative analysis of me when I began and the me I am now.

I sure hope I’ve stayed honest through them all, that if I leaned toward know it all or cutesy commentary that the handful of readers gave me mercy back then.

And the ones who hung around when I wrote about loving the sky and the sounds of the birds.

No worries, that Lisa Anne is still here.

Here on this Wednesday when I’m at a loss over what to do for an income.

No set vocation and it’s noon and my husband just stood in the doorway to say…”You’re still in your pajamas…”

He smiled when I answered “Yes, things are not coming together again today.”

Strangely for him, he offered no suggestion. He let it rest.

And as he left the room to cut grass or hedges I reminded myself the third day in a row, you’ve done your part, just wait for God to take it wherever it is meant to go.

To grow.

Where You Stay

We choose where we stay.

We get back and we see.

Why did I not return sooner?

Why did I flee?

“In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” But you were unwilling, and you said, “No! We will flee upon horses”; therefore you shall flee away; and, “We will ride upon swift steeds”; therefore your pursuers shall be swift.”

‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭30:15-16‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Pursued by everything others say you need, promising it will turn your door’s key to peace causing confusion, exhaustion until you return.

Return to the place that simply lets you be.

The place God says this is you.

This is yours.

The places with no parameters, expectation or restraint.

I stood in front of my new easel for three hours last night. I, thanks to the newlyweds, have a proper easel.

It stands tall to accommodate large pieces.

I painted a piece in a newly free way of layering. Colors in little prism like squares creating ideas of form and figure.

I’ll layer a little more later.

This morning I pondered the biblical idea of abiding.

Of remaining confident when there’s no reason to be sure simply because you know you are close to God.

You slow down long enough, briefly at first until you discover, I am okay, I’ve been at peace a little while now.

Of being where you are even though you can’t see clearly where you’re going.

“For we live by faith, not by sight.”

‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭5:7‬ ‭

Of starting and allowing God to lead, much like a blank canvas you approach and begin with a certain color to continue with sweet consolation.

I like what this is saying. I am content with what I’ve conveyed here.

I’m so glad I began again, taking away what was planned and letting another idea develop.

Mercy Mornings

Stripping away the too many perfect layers to leave the impression of a beauty, imperfect and spontaneous.

Yes. I cannot wait to be back there.

Abiding is simply staying in the place you feel most safe.

The place of the little corner room, soft songs about grace and love blending blue-grassy vibe with truth about staying here.

Where you belong, the place God made you for, the place of quiet confidence.

Present with God.

The place you sense most clearly that you are known, your longings have been observed by God, the place you believe you matter, you are a part of God’s story.

The morning story that reminds you, mercies are new all the time and His faithfulness has surely been great every moment.

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.” John 15:9

‭‭

Where do you go that causes you to wonder why your return was delayed?

Do you sit with your fingers on keys finding soft notes at first becoming clearly stronger as time passes, you and the piano, maybe a guitar or a horn?

Do you put your hands deep into the soil and seed of flora or bright vibrant leaves?

Do you allow them to linger when you realize your hands are mingling with growth, God’s glory?

Do you sit with no agenda watching the anticipated rain come in?

Linger longer in the places that mean abiding for you.

Rest for our souls, maybe long overdue.

Space enough to remember.

You are strong.

Stronger than you know.

Continue and believe.

This piece is a mixed media collage using acrylic, paper and oil pastel. It is 20 x 38. Comment if interested.

The Road Blurry

Maybe knowing God is better than knowing me.

I found this accidental photo just now.

Funny how it happens, happenstance making sense.

Last night the air cooled slightly after just a showering of a misty rain.

I walked, listening again to informative content on the number of me, the Enneagram 4.

I finished up my walk, showered, ate, settled on the sofa and with nothing else worth my time, watched college softball’s big game.

I’d seen a young woman earlier, she made it to collegiate level and now she tells me she’s expecting her third baby.

She continues to ask how I’m doing, what I’m doing,

how I’m feeling in my new role, “#goingbygrandmanow”

I tell her it has been an adjustment, some things not easy.

I add when I see baby Elizabeth all of my anxiety fades.

She smiles. “Oh, I forgot something!” she says in her excited and bubbly way.

We are standing in the crowded post office and she begins to talk about church.

She tells me about their sermon series and how it was suggested everyone find a “spiritual mentor”.

She has chosen me, says I was her first choice.

Of course I said yes and I’d call her for coffee and yes, we can talk about Jesus.

I was not prepared at all.

Should I have answered no, I wonder?

Should I have said “Oh, I’m not the one, you just don’t know!”?

Because I’m not feeling so suitable for such a place in another’s life now.

I walked and thought again about validation, understanding my tendencies a little more and thinking I should ask a professional…

Is this a breakthrough for me? Have I figured out something transformative and new?

Do I seek not only the validation of the positive of me but, also habitually choose the patterns I know that sustain the negative of me?

Thereby destroying any possibility that life can be different, can be better?

Is this typical I wonder, for anyone approaching 59, knowing 60 is just up ahead?

I believe we’re inundated with advisors and we are at a loss over whose truth to soak in.

Someone wants to edit my website, has a proposal she wants to present, claims she can make me more visible, increase sales, build my numbers.

A creative has seen my art, beckons me to join her next series of marketing courses. I consider, almost jumping in, signing up for yet another hope that feels false after a bit.

They’re a business after all, I tell myself.

I unjoined a writing community, yet the content continues to come.

And yet, writing and painting don’t hold the same place in my heart as before.

Have become like a chore.

This morning I made a list of concerns lined up with contentment, two columns, thing is nothing was listed under contentment at all.

Yesterday, I heard a mom talk of her little girl’s big girl dreams and goals. I smiled as I listened to how she was schooling her own mama in teaching her marketing strategy.

This child already knowing the value in believing she is capable and she can do anything when she combines her confidence with her courageous talent and selling of her self.

But, maybe it’s different for some.

Maybe I’m one of the some.

Maybe nothing more than now is the best place for me. Maybe I’ve blinded myself of the goodness of God by seeking what everyone else says is better.

What if we overwhelm ourselves with so many virtual mentors we lose ourselves in their midst?

God spoke to me this morning saying it is okay to consider the wisdom of others but you must never forget the wisdom you’ve found of me.

Your one story is now shelved because you have filled your mind with the details of so many others’.

Your fear has unintentionally buffered your courage.

So, there comes a choice to be made, slow down and take a breath.

Eliminate the unnecessary content.

Listen to God more than anything or anyone else.

It happens when you don’t deny the evidence of that.

A friend of your daughter says be my spiritual mentor and unknowingly prompts your return the place you had left.

The place where one person in this great big world sees you face to face and says I want to know the Jesus you know.

“Is that possible, do you think?” she asks.

And I answer, “Yes.”

It is possible.

I’m thinking of my grandmother this morning who was industrious and talented but rarely talked about her craft.

She created intricate Christmas ornaments from discarded jewelry. She boxed her creations up in big flat boxes and her work room was a dresser and a bed.

She made deliveries to people who paid her and I suppose she was known for her creations.

But, I never remember anyone encouraging her to go bigger, maybe put a sign up in the IGA or even an ad in the Statesboro Herald.

She provided what was requested of her. She was compensated, yes; but, only enough for what she needed.

She was content in the act of creating, it was her independent venture that I saw, that instilled in me the truth of possibility.

My grandmother taught me that being yourself is all you need.

Is there a book in me?

Will a gallery be inclined to display my art?

Will I be a better me or finally decide I’m enough as I am?

Content in the waiting as I rest in what comes not forced or rushed and be amazed by paths crossing and opportunities that unfold unexpectedly.

Next week or the next I’ll have an iced coffee with “Sam”.

I may tell her what a mess I was when I saw her or I won’t.

I may just tell her what I was learning on that and any other day.

Learning that the advice I need is found in the quiet place beside my bed or in the wide sky, the bending road or in the palms of my beautiful granddaughter’s hands.

God is everywhere, I will tell her.

Continue and believe, I might add.

Knowing God is better than better knowing me.

Learn as you go.

I’m on the morning road to my daughter’s, her husband’s, Elizabeth’s home.

The fog is lifting.

Remembering the thing that God just told me, an awakening of sorts and how one day I may tell Elizabeth or not.

How her grandma began to come into her own…

Maybe just live it intentionally for her to see.

Rest in this self awareness you’ve so keenly acquired and continue now easily into the you God has always known.

Discard all calculations to change your course or set new direction.

Become who you were becoming the very day you were born, God’s unique and capable child.

It is well with your soul.

It is well.

Peace and Water

Art

The owner of the shop that sells my art said,

“Landscapes, Lisa…more landscapes.”

I answered, “Okay, I’ll bring a new one every day!”

Then commenced to continue, the serene scene of sea.

Too dark, too gloomy, too dismal.

Reworked it for three hours,

Then color, just got happy with shape and color

And

Peace and Water, 22 x 24 mixed media

Peace and water.

How Much We Need

“ …there is no God like you in all of heaven above or on the earth below.”

‭‭1 Kings‬ ‭8:23‬ ‭NLT‬‬

I would stand close by and wait, watch and contribute as I was told.

My mama, in her kitchen, I watched as she prepped the meat for the main meal to add a pound cake for later.

In the intervals of ingredients, she rarely gave a measure.

She’d answer with “that’s enough” or “a little more”.

Rarely did she let me add too much. She knew that wound spoil it all. The flour would be mixed with the sugar. It would be impossible to separate the two.

We would have to start over.

In all my years of helping bake cake, that was never the case.

The measure of the two ingredients was always enough to take the next step, to add in the eggs one at a time and the butter.

The cake came out right. Consistently moist with the sweet thick light brown crust.

This morning I made a list of three things I’d like to believe without interruption, three things that would never go away, be not enough.

“You were running the race so well. Who has held you back from following the truth?”

‭‭Galatians‬ ‭5:7‬ ‭NLT‬‬

  1. Self-control
  2. Belief in possibility
  3. Assurance of God’s love

Someone may be reading this and asking how is it that she doesn’t know these things?

I sat just now and countered each need with truth. Because see, in this world we live in the stuff that gets mixed in gets us mixed up.

Self-control is my decision. Every decision begins with a thought. God’s spirit will be my guide.

“Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.”

‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭4:23‬ ‭NLT

All things are possible. This truth is for me. It is God’s desire that I allow my heart, not my mind, to lead.

“Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭37:4‬ ‭NLT‬‬

God’s love is immeasurable. It is unwavering.

“No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:39‬ ‭NLT‬‬

I told someone yesterday I’ve been dreaming about my mama. I told her I think it’s because my daughter’s about to have a baby. She smiled and added she thinks that’s so sweet. I told her she’d understand one day, for her I hope it’s not soon.

Longing is immeasurable. Memories are a beautiful thing. God made me to remember us in the kitchen and her famous pound cake.

And he led me to consider the comfort of having enough.

Not too much.

He led me as if my mama and He had been in intimate conversation and they both decided.

Look now, she’s about to give in. She’s about to be pitiful again. She’s about to let doubt ruin the batter, she’s leaning closely towards throwing out the good ingredients and deciding she might never bake a good cake, create a story or a painting again!

Can I tell you one thing for sure?

He knows. He knows our tendencies and stands close by saying, let’s don’t go that way again.

I’m rising now from my morning spot on a day I am calling “sick” and I will get busy with the good things God has started in me and then I’ll go and try my best to get the ingredients for my mama’s unwritten recipe.

I have a cake to bake!

Thank you Jesus and mama, for teaching me.

Continue and believe.

I’m afraid I never follow the five minute rule. Still, I appreciate the prompt, so I’m linking up with others prompted by the word “measure”.

Measure

Wounded and Believing

Thank you, Jesus

There’s a sliver of a wound on the inside of my index finger.

Rather than take the clear path only a few steps away I stepped towards the corner.

Took the risky way, the rebellious path.

Awaiting the New

The asparagus fern from last summer had been put away, covered in pine straw, protected.

From a distance, I saw vibrant green peeking through.

I am impatient for the new season.

So, I squeezed up next to the porch and gingerly pushed about the branches of not yet blooming roses.

Then left the fern, after all, it may be too early, we’ve not yet had the “Easter snap”.

I looked down and saw the stream of deep dark red and felt the sting of the injury from the thorn that caused me to be cornered.

I paused to dab my finger against my shirt, only temporarily stopping the flow.

I continued on my mission, needing to get my pansies into the dirt.

Rain was forecasted, I needed them ready and waiting for the pour down from heaven.

Beautiful Belief

The blood continued to flow from the place the thorn broke the skin, now all mottled with black soil.

It was the dirt after all that stopped the bleeding. Dirt crammed beneath my nails and clogging up the gash of my finger’s wound.

I thought of Jesus.

Thought of how so often I am hesitant to speak His name in public. Thought of expressions like

Less Lisa, More Jesus

Thought of the power of the sound of His name and how I keep it to myself as if the magnitude of His name might upset our rooms.

Sometimes I only hint at the reality of Jesus.

Deciding others will find out on their own.

As if accidentally maybe perhaps or hope so

Someone will just know that we know Him and maybe ask if it is so and hey, tell me why I should know the one you know…

(Sermon to self here. Please just know.)

I thought of the thorns they placed on His head in a sarcastic cynical crown.

I thought of how eventually his blood became mixed in with his sweat, the grime of his sacrifice, the mixture of it all.

Love and death.

For me.

For us all.

I thought last night about this love I am not required to earn.

Thought about Jesus fulfilling God’s purpose, Jesus obeying the Father, a sinless obedient Son.

I am thinking now of the miracle of me, the miracles I have seen, the ones I’ve yet to see.

The ones that I will never know.

That are yours! Not mine to see.

Way too many to comprehend.

Jesus let Thomas put his hand in the place where the spear cut open His side. Told him he was blessed because he believed.

Added how significant it is not to see and yet, believe.

The measures Jesus took and takes to get us to believe are simply too much to me!

Too much to fathom why sometimes I don’t believe.

And yet, like Thomas.

He is still there for me.

Still telling me,

Peace be with you. John 20:26  Believe.

The Book of John ends with a beautiful thought, the truth of the ever astounding and amazing love of Jesus.

“Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.”

‭‭John‬ ‭21:25‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I understand. Yesterday, I thought of all my journals, all my haphazard prayers, intentional supplications, and all the countless recoveries and redemptive interventions Jesus has brought to my life.

I believe in Jesus, not because I’m educated in this way.

I believe because of all He has shown me because of my believing.

Like Thomas and the others, I believe because he gave me chance after chance to see.

The little slice of the wound from the thorn is still open today. Soon, it will be closed over, no sting or tinged color of pale red. Soon, the insignificant wound will be healed.

I’m thankful for the sharp thorn, the red flow that lingered.

To be reminded of believing.

To be less attentive to my wounds and more open to you.

Linking up with Mary Geisen and others at Tell His Story:

The Walk to the Cross

Change is Eventual

I’ve gotten as far as finishing my initial monthly newsletter. It is scheduled for this evening and Sundays the middle of every month to come.

“They” say that’s not the best day for sending. That’s the day that felt right for me anyway.

The initial one never went through.

Either it was confirmation of my deficient technical skills or was way “too much Lisa” not enough Him. I believe a combination of both.

I’m a work in progress. This blogging, writing thing is as much an enigma most days as me.

You’re an enigma wrapped in a riddle. my husband’s description of me

I have no idea where the form is supposed to be for followers to subscribe.

MailChimp almost got the best of me, still not a simple thing, at least not to me.

I will figure it out. Not now.

Eventually.

Crazy and Possibility

This is crazy I told myself.

Two hours in my work clothes, shoes kicked to the corner.

And the background music…on point. (I’m not sure what this means but

I like the sound of it!)

Painted soothing blue, planning on a marsh late summer but not quite right.

Paint on. Paint off.

Missing my girls. Add the shape of one I’ll call.

“Possibility”.

I want to keep on. I want to finish. I want to stand back and go “Yes…oh.”

Then I remember this little thing I saw today and I told myself you can come back and add layers or even paint over to start over.

Either way, you had two glorious hours of painting…and painting always, always gives you way more than it takes!

This piece, to be continued.

Trying to Swim

Colt’s first glimpse of the ocean, photo LT

I have an unfulfilled desire to be a swimmer, strong and freeing I long to be the one swimming laps at end of the day in our pool.

I long to be a singer too, one of those people with no concern over those around me or before me, just belting out a lyric from the bottom of my belly and resting my hand at my heart as I am fulfilled in the joy from within.

I’ve heard both are possible, with training and time and I tell myself it’s surely a crazy desire, Lisa Anne.

Clearly, you have more than enough on your plate! I’ll stick with art and words for now, come June I may try swimming again. I will.

Two things are pending, waiting for me to take a grand plunge and with time and training get them just right this time.

I won’t grow if I don’t continue to try. This one thing I do know.

I am the most ill equipped marketer when it comes to marketing me.

I’m embarrassed to ask for help and I get all bent out of shape when I believe people can’t believe I cannot figure it out on my own.

This is my perception.

When it comes to confidence in myself in this area I have none.

But, I am committed to trying.

I will update my blog today or tomorrow, keep my name on the front end, the uncomfortable place that says find her, read her words, and I’m adding a Sunday evening newsletter to all who want to hear my thoughts at end of the day, the end of a week. I know what I want to call it and I feel God leading me to what he wants me to say.

I may change my confidence, it may not say “quiet” or “confidence” at all.

I just need to continue. It may say continue.

I’ve deleted my art page. It had only three followers 😊 and I’ll incorporate hopefully a more professional look with links to connect interested buyers.

Yes, today I will begin, hopefully be complete by tomorrow.

I get confused over confidence the more I travel this writing and painting road. I make it bigger than it is, the challenge of trying and then following where God wants it to go.

Look it up, the dictionary says confidence depends on ourselves.

That can’t be so.

If it’s all me it becomes either reward or rejection and it goes back to being all about me, chubby little brown haired girl longing to be noticed.

I love the words to this song that keeps circling back to find me:

In Over my Head

Whether I sink, whether I swim 
Oh it makes no difference when I’m beautifully in over my head…Jenn Johnson

A song about abandoning fears and longing to see just how far we can go when we believe and allow God to lead.

Continue and believe.

Paul met Jesus and he knew where his life would go. Absolutely and unwaveringly he acknowledged his fear, his failures, his past violent offenses and he kept on, kept on walking the way He was called.

I don’t believe any of us should go through life without coming to a point where all we truly want to know is

God, where do you want me to go?

“Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God.”

‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭4:1‬ ‭NLT‬‬

May my efforts be worthy of what continues to feel like my calling.

I’ve written for more than five minutes as I am inclined to do. But, these are my thoughts on confidence and I’ll share with others here:

FMF -Confidence