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.

Tiny Seeds

Art, birds, confidence, contentment, courage, Faith, Peace, Redemption, testimony, Vulnerability, wisdom, wonder, writing
Blooming Again

The morning is grey with a veil of warmth shielding the pines across the way.

My grey cat is missing, meanwhile a pretty black one with a flash of white on its chest is slowly deciding I’m friendly.

But, I’m hoping for mine, the kitten I named “Georgia”.

I am waiting for the amaryllis forgotten and found to be vibrant again.

I’m waiting with sweetly surprised expectation, the Christmas of 2020 bulb potted and forgotten is now fat with rebirth.

Pray, trust, wait.

Despite the warning of afternoon tumultuous thunder, the choir of birds are singing a sort of suggestion just for now,

Lisa, this is heavenly.

So, I listen.

I’ll return to my place of painting and wait for my visitor, a mourning dove who danced for me yesterday.

Softly, it stayed longer than I’d have expected.

Strong in its message to me, a message of peace is what I took it to be because of its color, a blue grey white blend, acrylic mixture for the sky I may paint.

Hoping my landscape says “peace”.

Because of its visit, the surprise of its lingering

Then the cardinal, brick-colored breast, careening alongside longer than usual and I noticed God,

“Mama.” I thought and “it is well”.

Keep trusting. Keep waiting.

The Book of Luke, Chapter 13 suggests the same.

A parable about a fig tree about to be uprooted, tossed away because of its fruitless condition and then the one about the mustard seed. Luke shared the story Jesus used to help us understand that growth that starts small can become immeasurably large by trust and faith.

Persistence, a peaceful persistence.

Private maybe.

Two trees, a barren fig tree and one that grew so beautifully that birds built nests and started families there.

“He said therefore, “What is the kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it? It is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his garden, and it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches.”
‭‭Luke‬ ‭13:18-19‬ ‭ESV‬‬

The kingdom of God is here. It is us, all of us seeds of its faithful and kind growth.

A woman bent over for eighteen years because of “disability of spirit”, Luke shared her encounter with Jesus in the middle of the two parables.

I love the placement, it makes faith even more a promised instrument for change.

Jesus, the bringer of change broke the rules and healed this woman on the Sabbath.

“When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said to her, “Woman, you are freed from your disability.”
‭‭Luke‬ ‭13:12‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I’m fascinated by this healing.

Eighteen years of her life, this broken spirited woman walked bent by her load, face to the ground.

She was healed immediately and glorified God, according to scripture.

I wonder how.

Was she a seamstress?

Maybe a writer, maybe a helper of others, maybe she was simply a teller of her story.

I’d love to know if she worked with her hands, strangely, I believe so.

I guess because of the resonance for me of her healing.

She’s relatable. I want to believe she’s like me and I, like her.

Yesterday, I edited a painting I felt was contrived. Calm came as I changed what was finished, but after all, not.

“Spring” became “Birdsong”.

“Birdsong”

Like a seed of faith, a barren tree, a discarded and forgotten amaryllis bulb, and a woman disabled by a spirit that told her she was unable for eighteen years

We can grow, there’s planting, reviving, unearthing and thriving in every single soul.

Pray, trust, wait.

Participate in God’s healing.

“As he said these things, all his adversaries were put to shame, and all the people rejoiced at all the glorious things that were done by him.”
‭‭Luke‬ ‭13:17‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Unearth what you buried or locked away.

Contribute your tiny nourished seed today.

Continue and believe.

“Birdsong” is available here: https://www.lisaannetindal.me/new-products/8fhgfywxizgjv7e4sxv8zkvwoj85qo

The Broken Bowl

Abuse Survivor, Art, bravery, contentment, courage, Faith, freedom, happy, hope, memoir, Redemption, Stillness, testimony, Trust, Vulnerability, waiting, wisdom, wonder

Over several weeks, I sat at the desk in my art room and pieced together a broken bowl. It had fallen to the counter as I put dishes away at my daughter’s home, a loud crash and pieces and chunks of pretty white with raised polka dots was destroyed.

Instantly, I thought “Here’s your chance, try kintsugi.” (the ancient art of repairing broken pottery with gold)

I laid out the pieces, gathered gorilla glue and thick gold paint and began. It couldn’t be rushed.

It was a thing of patience and phases, requiring me to allow the repair of one section before beginning the next.

Covered in a cloth in case my daughter stopped by, I continued imperfectly because of missing pieces, adding blue from a broken intentionally cup for fill ins and well, just because it was pretty.

Finished, it became a gift to her for Valentine’s Day.

Last week, I heard words that were not new,

“We live in a broken world.”

The pastor added with emphasis in his message on “expectations” and I received the familiar phrase differently.

It was time.

Have you considered yourself broken by life? Maybe you do now. I began to think of other catchy phrases like “broken and beautiful or beautifully broken” and pondered how we can be both.

I sat in the sanctuary between my strong son-in-law and a very large, burly man who sang every word to every song and sighed like a little boy at the passages about God’s love, no condemnation anymore and other promises because of God’s spirit in us.

I thought, “I’m not broken, after all, all along it’s been this world and what it caused others to do to me.”

“Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭43:19‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Journaled on Monday:

This world is broken and so, things that happen or happened may determine you to be broken. But remember, you are whole, made whole fully and even more whole and unbroken as you allow yourself to understand the difference. You are not broken. The world still is; but no, you are not broken, not you. Not broken made beautiful as much as simply beautiful, redemptively beautiful, completely so.

To say I’m in need of my Heavenly Father, my Savior, His Spirit in me is not saying I’m broken, it’s more of a humble recognition of my identity now, in light of then.

God caused me to consider self-condemnation in my sleep last night. I’d been thinking of the practice of Lent and intentional changes. God had a better idea, told me what I really needed to let go of is self-condemnation.

The thought danced in my mind all night and I woke to consider it and journaled.

Self-condemnation turns me inward, causes me to fixate on my failures. Self-condemnation is not a healthy or even godly self-assessment. Instead, it’s an obsession with myself in a way that’s tricky, makes you think it’s a companion to humility.

Humility acknowledges with reverence the repaired places you were broken, made new, places you were unable and now have courageous abilities. Humility shines a soft light on the places you were weakened by wrong, but now are allowing yourself to grow strong.

Humility says “thank you”. Self-condemnation says you’ll always be “too far gone”.

Happy Place (detail)

I gifted the bowl and later sent my daughter a note I’d saved in “Notes”.

Kintsugi is the ancient art of fixing broken pottery with gold. … Kintsugi reminds us that something can break and yet still be beautiful, and that, once repaired, it is stronger at the broken places. This is an incredible metaphor for healing and recovery from adversity

Strange gifts from me don’t surprise my children and they know the unspoken truth of most of my gifts being gifts with a deeper meaning. No need for spoken explanations, just hope for little contributions to my legacy of love always.

And hope that I see this bowl, others who pass by or stand in her kitchen pause and maybe take a deep breath and rest assured.

We’re not broken anymore. We are beautiful and slightly imperfect, yet made new.

“For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭107:9‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Understand Me

Abuse Survivor, anxiety, bravery, confidence, courage, Faith, fear, hope, memoir, mercy, Peace, Prayer, Redemption, testimony, Vulnerability
Almost There

Here’s a real life story about anxiety for so many who don’t “get it” and a revelation that that’s okay because “you understand me, God. You understand me.” (Passion Music, “Bigger Than I Thought You Were”.)

Early morning darkness only illuminated the garage and I wondered what made the motion that led to the light. An animal, a person, a man?

I tapped the wrong button and I locked the truck three times before I heard the open click. My husband’s prized truck, my transportation for the day. Hoisted myself up to the seat and saw the light flashing “oil change needed” which reminded me to take off the brake.

Couldn’t find the pedal on the floorboard and instead found the lever to “pop” the hood, then turned to jump from the truck and felt my left side move with a tease of vertigo.

Carefully, quietly as I could, I opened and then closed the hood. Then, I sat in the driver’s seat wondering where the brake release was located. Switched on every light and guessed on the one beneath the steering wheel. Success!

I left the driveway for the empty road and determined myself to not be angry, stressed or feel stupid.

But, the highway was busy, cars and trucks headed to industry or interstate flashed their brightly lit eyes at me in a hovering and then sweeping by me stare.

The windshield had fogged, continued to fog as I found defrost and then, panic again and a weight on my chest as I couldn’t figure out the wipers.

But, I continued. I drove on.

I took my deep faith in fear out breaths and it got better, the panic in my chest, the anxiety locking up my breath.

When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy. Psalm 94: 19

I thought to tell my daughter, but didn’t. No need to have her busy morning challenged by the perplexity of her mama.

Rehearsed telling my husband later, but decided no use.

He doesn’t understand anxiety, hates it for me, but doesn’t understand it really.

The windshield cleared, I had the country road to myself, quiet because the radio was another challenge, and I got there in plenty of time to see a toddler already smiling on her mama’s bed.

Peace was there.

“It’s foggy, but so beautiful this morning.” I told my daughter.

Peace of all is and was okay.

Will be always.

Peace was with me all day yesterday and will be today.

“Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭23:4‬ ‭NLT‬‬

You understand me, God.

Linking up with other writers here:

Five Minute Friday

About To Bloom

Abuse Survivor, Art, bravery, contentment, courage, curiousity, Faith, Holy Spirit, memoir, mercy, patience, Peace, Prayer, Redemption, testimony, Vulnerability, waiting, wisdom, wonder, writing

Everything’s about to bloom except my orchid. But, I’ll not give up. The leaves are bright green cushions comforting the base of the stalks. The soil is laced with the thin fallen blooms of before. I know the morning is soon. The morning I turn towards the sun striped wall and I see the buds fat with flora.

Blooming

Prayer and patience, I think.

The tiny grocery store hyacinth I bought to think of my Grandmother will be transplanted to the front yard. Spring, not this, but the next, I’ll look out my morning window and see the green breaking soil. I’ll wait then for delicate dainty hyacinths to bless the space around my “Angel girl”.

I’ll remind myself. I will remember. I waited and it was good to be hopeful, to be patient prayerfully.

The Valentine’s Day bouquet is refilled with fresh water. A day lily amongst the pink and purple will soon open, soft tangerine.

I’ll wait, not like snapping my fingers for things. I’ll wait and keep watering what God has planted in me. This is my contribution.

I’ll look towards the orchid and I’ll see its dust colored branches stretching and curving towards the window. I’ll see it going after what it can’t live without. I’ll know what is needed for growth and I’ll keep watering, keep writing, painting, praying and I will rest quietly because quiet waiting is always best.

I’ll be willing to trust, simply planted and willing. I’ll remain rooted and I’ll not doubt the nourishment I’m given from My Father. I’ll allow it to change me from the roots to the branches to the sharing my story.

I’ll not doubt possible blooming. I know it will come and not just for me.

For others too, weakness made strong, broken made unbreakable, redeemed with a story worth sharing.

I pray it’s the same with you.

Continue and believe.

“For there is hope of a tree, If it be cut down, that it will sprout again, And that the tender branch thereof will not cease.”
‭‭Job‬ ‭14:7‬ ‭ASV‬‬

I’m linking up with others, prompted by the word “Stretch”. What an interesting prompt,

FMF link up.

Faint, Yet Pursuing

Advent, bravery, confidence, contentment, courage, doubt, Faith, fear, hope, mercy, Prayer, Redemption, rest, Salvation, testimony, Vulnerability, wonder

These words gave me permission to consider my wandering, validated a truth I see in myself and wondered how many others wrestle with the same question.

Where is God today?

Why do I feel I’m in this battle alone?

What if my faith is fleeting?

Faint, yet pursuing. Judges 8:4

This verse describes a throng of warriors’ commitment to battle with their leader, Gideon.

“And Gideon came to Jordan, and passed over, he, and the three hundred men that were with him, faint, yet pursuing them.”
‭‭Judges‬ ‭8:4‬ ‭KJV‬‬

I jotted down three verses from my Bible one day last week, folded the paper and put it in my “to do list” book.

The passages were from Psalm 42, Luke 2, and this Old Testament text.

Often, a trio like this will wrap me in its embrace of understanding, acknowledgement of question, and offering of clarity and peace.

Gideon, David and Mary share a theme that resonates. They wavered in their confidence and faith, maybe in a way like me, asked God to be near, asked Him to show evidence that their faith wasn’t without hope. That they can wander away and wonder in a questioning way and they can be themselves.

We can be ourselves.

God welcomes that.

David gives countless templates for questioning conversations with our approachable God.

“Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭42:11‬ ‭KJV‬‬

Today, I pray you notice the Christmas around you. That you feel a nearness with Jesus, God’s intentional gift for us.

Nearness, more near than any humanly possible things.

Jesus Christ, the baby, little boy and man who dwelt among others and now, if you’ll allow Him dwells within, His Spirit

Strength and peace.

I pray that you believe in Jesus Christ as your Savior, not just the idea of Him, although it surely is the most beautiful idea on its own.

A baby born to then die for us. A baby born without sin to become a man crucified cruelly although without sin.

I pray you believe and that you begin to pursue and never stop pursuing even on dismal days, days when you’re battle weary and days when you being invited to participate in such a miraculous truth seems unbelievable.

“And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”
‭‭Luke‬ ‭1:45‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Continue and believe. If life leads you to question, continue and be at peace.

The strongest testimony may simply be this.

Faint, yet pursuing.

Yes. I will. That’s me.

A Forward Looking Calendar, The Promises of God

Art, artist calendar, calendar, Christmas, confidence, courage, Faith, freedom, hope, mixed media painting, painting, Peace, Redemption, testimony

I sketched a woman with a thoughtful gaze and a posture of certainty. Soon after, I added abstract shapes, soft colors and scattered words.

With ease and my normal messy pace, I added twelve watercolor sketches, deciding this is the 2022 calendar.

The calendar is 11×17 on high quality matte paper. The artwork is sized for later framing. It can be hung on a wall or positioned in an easel for your desk or counter.

You can purchase the calendar here. Use the promo code, 2022CALENDAR for a big discount on 5 or more!

Purchase your calendar here!

Love and Light

Abuse Survivor, Art, bravery, confidence, contentment, courage, Faith, grace, memoir, mercy, Redemption, testimony, Vulnerability, wisdom, wonder, writing

“That your joy may be full.” Jesus

Imagine being with the most prolific teacher, one you’re humbled, challenged, encouraged and fascinated by.

Grandma Mornings

I had an English professor, Honors English in my Freshman year. She saw my timidity and yet, she gave no mercy when it came to writing. Honesty, brevity, tenacity were her standards, more so than grammar.

Write with honesty. Don’t copy.

Don’t quit.

I left that college and that Honors English professor after barely eight months. Art scholarship and English were sidelined by events uninvited.

I wish I could remember her name, that tiny framed woman who commanded the room.

She taught me about doing hard things. She spoke of choices that would bring joy.

It’s crazy really, the forceful tone she used to cut no corners and instruct me has been my motivation for as long as I can recall.

I was afraid of her. I was unsure.

She told me I belonged in her class and I should never forget it.

I have been writing all my life in one way or another.

My writing lately is cursive, blue ink in my journal and most days an early morning Instagram post.

Honestly.

I honor that petite professor who never played favorites. Shy poor girl me or sorority blonde, she taught us to write and to continue writing.

She left us all with what was important.

Most important.

Jesus left the disciples with many commands that he hoped they’d honor. He told them doing so would lead to joy.

Most of all,

He said, “Love one another”.

Some mornings I read a verse or more and I write a sermon to self. Mornings like today, I share it:

Look for light today, where the love of Jesus falls and changes the simple or hard things.

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”
‭‭John‬ ‭15:12‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Years ago, I concluded that God made us all so different, so uniquely difficult in our ways, so individually changed by our circumstances in not always so easy to love ways, so that we’d be challenged to obey the command to love one another.

The greatest commandment isn’t a suggestion.

The other day I “vented” with a friend about difficult people. She listened. I listened. We had things in common. I didn’t feel better for my venting. Wished I hadn’t.

Notice how you feel when it’s a challenge to love others, choose the way of Jesus to do the best you can.

You’ll feel better for trying, for doing what the teacher instructed.

Remember, we don’t know the experiences that lead to the behaviors of others. It really is all about perspectives formed by circumstances.

We just can’t know the whole story of anyone other than the portion they share.

Sometimes that portion is the best or the worst.

Love one another.

Continue and believe.

Write, paint, sing, dance.

The Gift

Angels, Art, bravery, curiousity, Faith, hope, memoir, painting, rest, testimony, Vulnerability, wonder, writing
Trust

On Sunday, I felt the tone in my voice change to excited, the chance to tell again how it all started, women in redemptive poses, muses of my art.

The story of a new Bible for Christmas, the trend catching on of filling margins with notes, colorful stickers or maybe drawings.

I was reluctant. I remembered warnings of never let your Bible touch the floor, leave it somewhere safe, underline some things and write on little pieces of paper tucked away, the sins you keep sinning.

That’s what you need to remember most, I was raised to think. Keep track of your wrongs, only consider the tiny chance you are worthy of grace.

I was in awe of the mysterious unattainable gift of the Holy Bible for many years.

Gradually, when time alone brought comfort, I began timid sketches of women and stories I could see myself in comparable pain, joy, messes made or willingness to learn.

Willing to come nearer to God.

Brave enough to trust His love.

Love Binds

“And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.”
‭‭Colossians‬ ‭3:14‬ ‭ESV

I heard love in my voice on Sunday, felt it in the fluttery words lifted into the air as I stood surrounded by my art.

This thing I get to do that leads to stories of a Bible filled with drawings, the word “trust” in dark pen to greet me.

Listening as a passerby stops to say, “This one speaks to me.” I listen and am grateful for the gift of their emotion, their interpretation of the canvas.

Thank you seems insufficient and to add “it means so much” seem like the reply of an amateur, not a “real” artist.

But, I tell them. I tell the ones who see themselves in my art that their purchase, their kind words are a gift.

Because, I mean it and rare is the occasion I say something I don’t mean.

Share your thoughts, words and trust.

You never know what a gift to them it may be.

The gift of you sharing “your Bible”, your life.

Open your Bible, let it speak then speak it through your story.

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.