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.

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)

Cake Tomorrow

Art, birthday, courage, daughters, family, mixed media painting, Motherhood, painting, wonder
January 30th – Cake With Your Mama Day

One of my favorite things to see is the expression on my son in law’s face when I talk about art or life or I’m uncharacteristically funny.

We were sharing our Saturday plans, “cake with your mama day” and the whole idea of it.

Mama baked, January 30th was her birthday, still is and so, we’ll celebrate it by eating cake and telling other people about it.

He smiles, looks at my daughter. I walk towards my car and say, I guess most people think I’m weird!

My daughter shouted back,

“No, just crazy!”

And I saw them smile and I drove away, knowing they think I’m crazy in a good way, the way God made me.

“I thank you, God, for making me so mysteriously complex! Everything you do is marvelously breathtaking. It simply amazes me to think about it! How thoroughly you know me, Lord!”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭139:14‬ ‭TPT

Crazy for fun ideas and for sharing them?

It’s the way God designed me.

Linking up with others here prompted by “design” and I’m hoping they’ll have cake with their mama tomorrow or cake by themselves or with someone to honor her!

FMF Writing Prompt Link-up :: Design

(Artwork above is available to purchase.)

Becoming

Abuse Survivor, Angels, Art, bravery, confidence, courage, curiousity, Faith, grace, hope, memoir, painting, Peace, rest, Trust, Vulnerability, wisdom, wonder, writing

Yesterday I sat in the dentist chair wishing I had music as a buffer, a distraction to help me not think of what the hygienist was thinking about my aging teeth.

Instead, I chose the Psalm again, the 23rd one and I made it a new song.

On repeat.

“Lord you are my shepherd. You are right here beside me and you’ve always made sure I somehow had all I needed.

And sometimes you’ve given me abundantly more, so much more you surprised me.

I think you must know how much I love surprises, love it when someone thinks of something I might love and then there they are, gifting me!

Lord, you’ve been such a giver of gifts for me. You’ve been with me in the scary places I got trapped and the days of sorrow like a tunnel narrow and winding so the light seems it’s not coming.

You’ve helped me out. You’ve given me reason not to be afraid again.

And again.

Lord, you’ve displayed the best of me for others to see, displays I’d never create on my own.

You show me off, you don’t let the gifts you made in me stay hidden. You help me see what is possible.

You refill my creative cup over and over like a beautiful feast, I return to the paper, the canvas, the brushes in the jars of water.

And I create quietly and certainly.

Lord, thank you for creating me.

The me I am becoming. The one unafraid to honor you, to be an influence that causes curiosity over Jesus.

The me, deep thinker and no longer bothered by that often misunderstood depth.

You made me this way as if to say, ‘here’s who Lisa is, she’s a keeper!’

Thank you for shepherding me, for being so gentle and wise.

For being sure of me becoming me and for doing so very

Patiently.”

Amen.

“I delight to fulfill your will, my God, for your living words are written upon the pages of my heart.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭40:8‬ ‭TPT‬‬

Morning Chairs

Abuse Survivor, Art, bravery, Children, courage, daughters, doubt, Faith, family, heaven, hope, memoir, painting, Peace, Redemption, Stillness, Trust, Vulnerability, wisdom, wonder

It would be a stretch to say my parents were like Johnny and June. My daddy was small in stature and my mama although very wise, didn’t exhibit a tone of outward patience. Their tolerance for one another came and went, seems it was either battleground or preparing for the coming battles, a rhythm they finally mastered.

As a young woman, I had to move back home. Things happened that led to college being too hard for me. To an outsider, it would appear I gave up or wasn’t college material. Few people knew, most weren’t informed, college was interrupted by unanticipated harm. So, I lived at home in the house by the pond for just a bit, a young woman trying to figure what’s next and ignoring the need to heal.

Most mornings, I lingered lazily in my room. My fascination with art numbed by my sudden incapability.

My parents were in their chairs with coffee. Their singsong exchange in kind conversation captivated me. This is what made me think of Johnny Cash and his longsuffering wife, June.

“This morning, with her, having coffee.” Johnny Cash, when asked his idea of paradise

I cling to the memory of my parents having conquered hopeless days in their marriage and sitting in their morning chairs, calmly talking, planning for possibility.

It occurred to me last week as I thought of my own children, adults navigating marriage, parenting, career in a time such as this, I don’t remember my parents asking one another a question,

“How did we get here with Lisa? Where did we go wrong?”

And my tender heart is so grateful that I was never privy to those conversations.

Another thing I don’t recall hearing was panic over politics or very much talk at all about trouble to be expected here on earth, that earth is not my home, heaven is.

Surely, in different ways they felt similar fear, apathy and distrust of leaders back then.

There was Vietnam, there was integration, there was the President who had an interview in Playboy magazine and there were leaders assassinated and although we were grown by then, there was September 11th.

Funny story, my granddaddy purchased the said magazine and my brother and cousin found it, ran through the field and after enjoying it for a bit buried it in the sand.

I like to think that was one of my grandfather’s biggest and happiest moments, he probably yelled and stomped but I imagine him loving us all back then; but, especially the two rascals that sneaky and scandalous day.

There’s unrest, division, distress. It is palpable.

Someone told me; well, it was my daughter, “You sound so despondent.”

de·spond·ent/dəˈspändənt/ in low spirits from loss of hope or courage.

She called as I painted and repainted a piece. It was not coming together. I told her it was hard, this is new for me. I told her I have to finish so I can move on.

But, it wasn’t a painting for someone that was causing the mood she heard in my voice.

It was the piling on of other things, the dragging on of pandemic, the way the masked faces and isolation are destroying us all in our inners, depleting our reserve of hope.

So, I sit in my morning chair, a chair that belonged to my mama. The pines are dappled with morning sun, the same sun landing on the arm of my mama’s chair.

Saying, morning has come with wellness again. They did what they could and you are well. You’ve done what you could do as well and those you love are well, will be well. You know this is God’s promise.

“It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to your name, O Most High; to declare your steadfast love in the morning, and your faithfulness by night,”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭92:1-2‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I did not hear my parents tell me that this world is not forever, there was minimal talk of heaven, even less conversation about our souls or salvation. We absorbed it I suppose from the sporadic other voices.

But, I saw and heard redemption when I laid quietly in the room that allowed me to be a temporary guest. I heard redemption in the conversation that was shared as they sat with coffee together in their “morning chairs”.

Imperfect love, grace and wisdom pulling me closer to living by faith because of mercy finding me, me finding God, continuously seeking, allowing every moment, my heart to be sought.

I pray your morning brings you the assurance that God is very near and that He is able to make good of all things, soften the hardest heart and redeem the angriest of relationships.

Continue and believe.

God, You See This

bravery, coronavirus, courage, Faith, grandchildren, kindness, painting, Vulnerability

I see God in the sky. This evening, the view was varied. There was strength. There was jubilant fullness. There was wide expanse with layered color.

I longed to be stronger because of seeing.

But, not so much. Not this evening.

If I’m honest.

My thoughts are likely controversial. I’ll be called selfish. It may be an opinion of many that it’s not such a big request, to require my face is masked.

I used to so very much enjoy outings, no particular reason trips to Target or to little shops or the art center, even the library.

Now, I’d rather not go.

I know not everyone else feels the same.

Today, my granddaughter not once but twice or more, looked into my eyes and smiled and she pulled my mask away from my face so she could kiss me on the lips.

At first, I thought, so sweet and then, I thought,

So odd. So very odd that someone who loves her so is “masked up” as if in disguise.

Thankfully, smart little baby wasn’t having it, she wanted to see her grandma.

A heavy weight bearing down, so very sick of all of this.

I walk with music.

The clouds are humongous.

The heron flies away the minute I walk by. To my right the sky is spattered sunset orange and to my right the fat clouds have a foundation almost purple.

And I hear a song called “Job’s” and I truly want to be comforted.

I’m sorry to say, I continue to wonder.

“How long?”

How long will my granddaughter see her grandma wearing a mask?

How long will we all be afraid and conformed to fearing even more every single moment.

How long until we trust our Sovereign God who made us fearfully and wonderfully and numbered our very moments…how long must we wait until our faith in His knowing of us gives us the courage to be free, unmasked and trusting the timing, the living, the hope…

To live without hiding, to live unmasked?

Fear will grow, keep growing until we are confident and trusting in the God that Job knew, the God we are all being beckoned to consider.

He knows.

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

The Audacity of Believing

Abuse Survivor, Art, confidence, contentment, coronavirus, courage, depression, Faith, fear, hope, memoir, mixed media painting, painting, Peace, Redemption, rest, Salvation, Trust, Unity, Vulnerability, waiting, writing

After three days with no writing or painting, I returned to my “sanctuary” on Sunday afternoon.

It was as before, it was life giving, the losing track of time and paint on my hands and forehead.

All afternoon, I painted.

I followed my husband’s suggestion. He noticed I was isolating and told me to stop spending so much time in “that room”.

When I did, I thought of other things. Things other than the canvases piling up, other than hopes that seem to have no place to land in this seemingly hopeless land.

I noticed the hardships of others. I paid attention to sorrowful eyes on masked faces. I observed the way we all seem to be walking together reluctantly, like lambs headed for slaughter.

I recalled my work with depression and suicide. I recalled the one thing more important than any other.

The one in need asking for help, and the listener being committed to listening and helping.

I thought of situational depression in comparison to chemical.

I realized, maybe now (I’m not an expert) it makes no difference. Isolation, depression, anger or sullenness, no respecter of persons.

And I revisited my career long reminder.

Be kind. Everyone is fighting a hard battle.

Here we are on another Monday feeling like the never ending mystery of our days.

I turned to Matthew, today marked Chapter 7, about not judging others wrongly, considering their conditions could be yours.

I read ahead, drawn towards a healing story.

Longing to remember the healer, longing to remember the one needing healing.

Wanting to feel touched by another’s story.

This one, a single soul held captive by an ugly disease. He was a leper, one others avoided.

He was brave enough to believe and saw the throng of people along with Jesus descending from the mountain down into the valley where he stayed hidden.

He asked for help.

Jesus listened.

“And behold, a leper came to him and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.” And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭8:2-3‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Today, I’ll remember those who are struggling more than most, more than me.

I’ll pray they find a listener, are able to express their pain and that the ears that welcome their anger or dismay, offer a heart and hand of patient compassion.

I pray that I am able to offer the same, whether words or canvas or eyes that smile instead of look away when I meet another seeking soul, a gentle lamb trusting God and in need of healing.

May we find each other in our quest for healing. May we continue to believe in the audacity of believing.