Look Again

I saw the something where the other had been proposed.

Painting over.

Left alone, a tiny bit tired over the way it hadn’t developed the as my heart hoped, strived for, imagined.

Look for good.

Look for God.

The tiny bit of light, the sunlight landing on one square of a blank canvas, painted dark and waiting for something.

The spot became water, I changed my idea of what a now finished piece would be. I left it, came back and saw it differently.

The piece did not turn out the way it began.

We don’t know what God has in mind for what has begun in us, what situation has come, has caused us to “come undone”.

We can’t predict the outcome. We can only be faithful to work in progress or thought not finished.

Faithful in our trust, faithful in our decision to continue surrendering

Our lives like blank canvas to his hand a broad stroke of brush or detailed pencil points added.

Pick back up.

Begin again.

Art imitating life, pieces coming together.

Look for God today. Look for good that is likely hard to see. Look for good in everything.

Look for God. Pray.

Trust. Wait.

Continue and believe.

Belief in Farming

Crazy title, crazy thing,

true story.

I always wanted to be a farmer.

Daddy had a garden several years, in the big back yard of the nicest home we lived in, in the narrow yard of the old house in the sketchy neighborhood, the westside of town.

And in the country, the furrowed rows could be seen from my window in the place where my children and I lived next to them, my mama and daddy.

All around us were other bigger fields.

My cousin worked them every year.

Soybeans, corn, peanuts, the rotation.

And wheat, the swaying stalks the place where my little girl loved to escape.

Just in front, sandy dirt, easily bogged down road that required us to memorize the ruts, there was cold and quiet digging at the end of the day, old bent silver spoons stirred up cakes and castles for both of my children back then.

We were never farmers but we saw the life.

We learned from the living.

We knew that the rain could ruin a crop and the lack of it, the same.

2019 was a year of breaking up my land, fine deep uprooting of long decayed seeds that needed to be give up on.

Crops that were meaningful but not so beneficial saw my surrender to possible new yields.

New seeds were planted and I was faithful even if my faith like a worried farmer sat and cynically muddled over what wasn’t growing.

Waited and accepted the harvest that came and set the mind on plowing down what didn’t produce and waiting til the season said yes to make new furrowed places and drop new seed.

I grew in new ways in 2019, struggle, surrender, stubborn decisions to live differently.

Differently as in not giving up on the possibility of new thoughts, new ways.

Rejecting the idea that nothing could ever grow strong through the work of my words and my hands.

Deciding not to let my fields become a wasteland, instead allow the painful turning over of my ground, the destruction of old roots making space for new planting.

“reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the Lord, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.”

‭‭Hosea‬ ‭10:12‬ ‭KJV‬‬

Months ago, I heard someone recite this verse and it simply would not let me go.

I began to grow slowly then.

Slowly being okay with waiting.

Surrender is a strong decision not a flag marking a quitter.

Surrendered ones keep going.

Taking in the nourishment given to me by songs, sermons, scripture.

Quiet, underneath like the soil.

My soul began and is still growing towards the embrace of the truth of the mercy and love of Jesus.

I wondered this morning if rushing towards Jesus, of standing up and saying I believe and not realizing it takes time to grow is a deterrent.

Do we decide not to believe fully because we expect to have a burst of understanding, an all of a sudden plentiful harvest of walking by faith in glorious fields?

I wonder if that causes us to doubt Jesus.

Nothing growing, we quit planting, we stop watering.

Just a thought.

And again, a mindset for me,

Just continue LT.

Continue and believe.

Because of mercy, Amen.

What has been planted, have you planted so far?

New Year Word

What do you know of yourself because of 2019?

How can you be honest with you?

It is good to understand your ways, good to be truthful with yourself, good to right unintended wrongs.

I can be distant, lose connections, be a not so dependable friend.

I’ve got some notes to send, some catching up to do with my “colors” the women who supported me through the years.

In a way the year has felt like an onslaught, a flood, a deluge of concerns along with a swift flowing stream of so much love.

My word was “faithful” in 2019, meaning I was faithful to keep pursuing God’s way for me and knowing He was gonna be faithful in His care for me.

Just kept on going, kept being buoyed in the storms, safe and learning.

We went out to the country the day after Christmas. Because of the rain we expected the dam would have bursted and his parents’ pond might be empty.

But it wasn’t, we walked together towards the edge, following the sound of bubbling, the soft yet strong flood of overflow towards the wide tree planted creek.

So, no problem. We stood and then stayed a while. It was quiet, tucked away in a back corner of his parents’ land.

The dock seemed more brilliant in color, the sun and shade mixing the tint to an almost feminine green, green like the color of spring, green like soft velvet.

The pads on the surface some with long weedy tendrils were situated softly, not overgrown in a cluster.

Okay alone.

.

Mostly single floating blooms.

The little bridge he built of old wood was bordered by stone he made from bags of cement.

But, it didn’t seem manmade. It looked as if the water’s edge was made of a beautiful white stone, marbled by harsh weather.

A lily pad top was resting, its softness molded into stone.

Must’ve been forced from the pond by the flood of water and somehow rather than drown in the rushing torrent, it was found pretty by me.

I knew the sight was meant to be mine to see. Other than just a bit of nature, there was something else for me.

I choose not so seriously a word every year. I don’t spend time in prayer or take time to decide. It’s always just happened to be found and I decided it made sense.

And then, it has.

It does.

In my Bible next to the verse I call “life”, I’ve penciled the last few years in.

“Breakthrough”: 2017

“Still”: 2018

“Faithful”: 2019

“Endurance”, I’ve decided, my word for 2020.

Because I could settle with the good enough I know, my life is good, my family, my marriage, my children.

My art, my piecing together of words into sentences, stories.

All of the former would be wasted in my settling, if I didn’t endure to the calling forward.

My breakthrough in healing over past trauma, my getting better at waiting, not forcing, of being “still”. My grasp of God’s faithfulness and my ownership of it.

After all this time, I believe it’s not just for others, that He loves even me.

So, endurance?

Yes.

Endurance like the pond’s flower, not resisting the strong rush of water, being pliable, being carried to a safe place and resting there to be seen as strong and surrendered to whatever.

What still will come.

He will give rain for the seed with which you sow the ground, and bread, the produce of the ground which will be rich and plenteous. Isaiah 30:23

The seeds from my breakthrough were scattered, not wasted and there was a stagnant period that felt like a flailing of me and my value.

Still, I waited.

It was unpleasant and heartbreaking at times. Waiting felt like being nothing, doing nothing, like the end of possibility because of my age.

But, I painted still and I was frantic over every chance to be seen as important, either a writer or an artist.

I was pitiful at times, seeking pity from others too.

None of this stopped God from holding on to His hope for my purpose. I was persistent although struggling, what He saw was that I was “faithful”.

Now, days from a new decade, I’m seeing joy in all of it. Being chosen for exhibits, an idea making sense and being well received, a 2020 calendar, a different perspective on the “Colors” memoir manuscript.

A brave goal by the end of January, 30 pieces to launch a more serious art website. (?!?)

I was brave in 2019. I made choices I would have never made before, choices that are not the choices of a timid victim, choices that said “victim no more”, no longer controlled by fear.

2020 will be a year of remembrance, I’ll be buoyed farther from the safe and hidden shore and I’ll not expect unwavering tides or resting ease.

I’ll go where his faithfulness has brought me and I’ll trust with endurance the newly emerging artist and writer, woman of me.

I’ll endure to see more clearly what God made me to be.

Because of mercy, I’ll continue. LT

Now I rise from my “morning spot” to tackle to the waiting list in my workroom, newly cleaned, brushes washed, desks rearranged, laptop and manuscript newly placed.

A letter for my “colors”, finish two commissions, one of which has made me feel so ill-equipped and then begin the first of 30 new pieces.

I’ll begin today and then

Endure.

the ability or strength to continue or last, especially despite fatigue, stress, or other adverse conditions; stamina

Must Be Me

The geese were carrying on a lively conversation over my shoulder.

I stopped on the curve. I owed them my attention. They used to captivate me so.

And now don’t really.

Not sure why.

The dangerous turn where people just don’t care.

Drive way too fast, using our quiet neighborly place as a shortcut, cut through, toss your trash and beer cans out place.

I paused to talk with the father and daughter in their yard. The little girl’s a twin and her sister’s got a fever. She’s solving a mystery her daddy told me.

The result of a week filled with “Scooby Doo”.

I watch as she pieces together her clues, little slips of paper her daddy hung in the trees, hid near the wagon.

I notice he’s patient.

His twin daughter, the one most inquisitive.

“Merry Christmas” she told me, three times or four.

Then her daddy, a police officer reminded me to be careful, people drive too fast and then he told me that when he sees me walking he prays I’ll be safe.

I told him I have to walk, don’t worry, I’m careful.

I’d be a shell of myself if someone told me to stop walking.

So, I walked at dusk on Christmas Day.

It was joyful.

Cutting short my route because of talking to the daddy and daughter and well, because I’m slow now, slower than three months ago.

Vertigo scared me then gave me permission to eat bread.

Sandwiches, I decided.

I’ll just eat sandwiches now.

And it’s been six months since my feet have stood still on either side of the number on a scale.

Last week someone told me to keep being me.

Just be you. DK

I have been thinking of it since.

So, today is day two of walking solitary again with words or music in my ears.

My bones feel inflated, the rub of joints and hips; but, today was better than yesterday and so on and so on.

Thinking I’m not able but trying anyway.

30 feet or even less, the left heel moving weight to the toe and then the right and the left and the bounce, bounce of the headphone wire against my chest.

I’m elated although I don’t go far.

The geese caused me to pause as I rounded the curve.

The sky has swept the slate clean and I can’t explain it but there’s a freedom in my feet.

There’s a light sense of new as the horizon replied with a sky that said love.

And I’ve added maybe 90 seconds of running to a 15 minute walk and I’ve given myself permission to be okay with the accomplishment of that.

Okay because it is me and I, after all.

Must be me.

And someone told me to keep being me.

Someone else told me they pray for me.

Neither of the two I will forget.

No, I’ll keep going.

Keep going towards you, Lisa Anne. You’re closer than you’ve ever known.

I’ve just read that DK who can’t fathom how significant his three words were…the just be you that has set the tone for my 2020 thoughts, has experienced loss on Christmas Day and so, I pray for him. I pray for peace in a time and a thing that makes no sense, the heavy weight of his loss. I will pray the kindness shown to the one he’s lost will be in turn, known by him.

One or Both?

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

Months ago I considered quitting.

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

Okay, not perception.

Reality.

Now, I’m in a new place.

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

Continue.

Continue and believe.

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

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

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

where can I find your art?

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

Plus, I’m not rich.

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

More confident…a little less quiet?

To take myself seriously.

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

Surrender, the word you keep circling in your journal.

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

Create art and words that tell redemption’s story.

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

Curious over mercy.

Advice?

I could use some.

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

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

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

Professional.

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

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

I’ll add my takeaway.

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

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

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

Thank you!

Thank you for helping me continue!

I hope you do too.

Known Soul

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

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭139:14‬ ‭ESV‬‬

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

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

You won’t see it in this photo.

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

My thought?

I agree with God’s ideas.

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

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

The shape and shaping of me.

She was not interested and yet, I continued.

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

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

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

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

Bodies holding souls.

We are.

Souls only God fully knows.

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

My maker.

God knows.

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

I was an avid listener although I have no books.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So, I’m not listening now.

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

The soul is so quiet.

And yet so very vocal.

So strong.

Such an articulate speaker of me.

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

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

He understands me.

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

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

Continue and believe.

No more fixing of me by me.

Unintentional

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous.

Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

‭‭Joshua‬ ‭1:9‬ ‭ESV‬‬

A more modern translation of this verse is softer, substituting the word discouragement for dismay.

I know now that to be dismayed is a more serious state, more knocked off your feet kind of feel than discouraged.

To be dismayed is to have a sudden loss of courage.

I am thoughtful over this definition. To be dismayed means to me, to be on the brink of defeat or uncertainty because of an unexpected thing.

The photo taken last week while training the puppy was accidental and unintentional.

I’m certain it was because of me adjusting the leash or preparing to control him as we got closer to the fluffy dog behind the neighbor’s fence.

I must’ve swapped hands worn out by his yanking and I guess my finger grazed the phone.

Anyway, I find the image drawing me in, the complexity of the soft and hard ground, the leaves crisp and scattered, just a glimpse of my forward foot and the puppy’s tongue.

We are in training .

We keep on, the shift underneath us so barely noticeable, the shift within us not forceful.

God changing the within in gradual ways.

Surrender is not sudden.

Drawing nearer to God is neither disdain, discouragement or dismay.

It’s simple. It is a soft and secret self-discipline stirred together with sweet encounters of peace.

Peace that is not sudden, is a steady undercurrent like creek to river, sandy path to the main road.

There, I’ve defined it now, the drawing of my eye to the random photo.

The unintentional picture on my phone, peace is what it captures.

Now I know.

I know peace, courage, standing quietly strong.

Not dismayed now.

May be soon. I pray not.

And even if, my heart will be more ready, not be stolen away.

I’ve got peace in my soul, in the ground beneath my feet.

Continue.

Continue and believe.