31 Days, Freely – Start

I’m good at neither rushing nor resting.

I concoct purposeful and passionate scenarios of diligent sticking to something and going long and hard without a break.

I imagine myself contentedly uninterrupted, a book in my lap.

But, both elude me.

Both take practice, commitment, a chance to see the benefit.

Going ahead without allowing hesitation or giving myself reprieve, permission to chill.

I’m sitting home alone, it’s Sunday and it’s sunny. The cool air of the night before has the rooms faintly fresher and the shift of the season quite clear.

Captivated by the book in my lap, “Becoming Mrs. Lewis” by Patti Callahan and tea in a pretty cup, I told myself read a chapter and then go, write a chapter.

Seemed like a good plan, inspirational, my content might flow more freely.

But, I’m three chapters in and still reading. This is a gift, this is a pleasure I’d long thought gone, being pulled in and unable to set a thick book aside.

Now, I’m rethinking the ambition of writing new chapters or layering abstracted thick color on a new something I started.

Instead, I’ll keep reading and when my eyes get heavy, I might dose or I may rise to walk the trail before the sneaking up of sunset.

I may look for them again, the tiny blackbirds up high in an old oak or the surprise sighting of seven or so cardinals all gathered together, red dots bouncing and bobbing against the green.

What I have started I will finish, I’ll come back and I’ll continue.

Fearlessly, faithfully what has begun will continue.

“Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance.”

‭‭Jude‬ ‭1:2‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Giving myself a little mercy, peace and love on a sunny Sunday.

31 Days, Freely – Audience

Today was a series of exchanges and conversations.

Late last night, I loaded up my artwork and joined today, the morning marketers of creations, all of us gathered on the lawn.

Tell your story. Sing your song.

Questions came with interest, with pause and silent studious stares from steps back as if my paintings displayed against an ivy covered oak were as grand as a gallery opening, big city style, formal and fancy.

Ooh’s and Ah’s.

How did you get started?

What are you writing?

What have you written?

Will you write a book?

Why do you think artists love to paint the pear, most of all?

“Come and hear, all you who fear God; let me tell you what he has done for me.”

‭‭Psalm‬ ‭66:16‬ ‭NIV‬‬

I sat with a woman visiting a friend and we compared most everything, why the work we do is “heart work”, that church people can be mean

and that we do find God when we look for Him and then we share what little or large we really know, the God we truly know.

In the sanctuary or on the square.

We share.

Why do some angels have faces and others just an idea or sort of blank slate?

When did you begin painting and why do you call them girls?

And they listened, a mother and a daughter, a widow and an old friend.

My daughter and her husband gave me a Bible with wide margins. I began sketching female figures in long flowing gowns as I let sink in the truth or the grace of each passage until the “girls” moved from the thin sheets in my Bible to canvas layered with lyrics.

The ones with no features leave open the idea, more relatable, emoting grace or joy or what each eye may see for itself.

I call them girls because I consider them sweet, humble, and I guess eternal, ever youths.

“Thank you for telling me your story.” she said, the one who didn’t buy my art; but, declared me an artist.

And I smiled.

I smiled today.

31 Days, Freely – Search

And if you search for him with all your heart and soul, you will find him.”

‭‭Deuteronomy‬ ‭4:29‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Why do we wake up committed to seeking God? Because it is necessary to know Him, to sense Him.

Only through knowing Him are we able to know ourselves.

Distractions, obligations, the incessant in our faces knowledge of conflict and confusion.

Comments and contributions to subjects that pull us to jump in and join the fight.

It’s so hard to keep the peace.

To keep our peace.

So, I begin today before dawn remembering how I’ve found Him before.

And asking, real early and real honestly.

Help me to find you, Father, in my day!

And oh, I’m so excited to see what good in which places will come my way.

God is everywhere. Don’t forget to notice. me

I want to see you God, because I want to fully see me.

31 Days, Freely – Pause

“Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him.”

‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭30:18‬

My “life verse” is bordered before by caution and consequence of stubborn rushing ahead and after, with gracious reminder of what good comes from waiting, from being attentive to God.

“Ah, stubborn children,” declares the Lord, “who carry out a plan, but not mine…”

‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭30:1‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Beware the place you arrive without pause. me

It wasn’t a life-changing yes or no. I’d done my research, asked for input from another.

A nominal purchase, was my pull towards jumping in to the opportunity because of the way it was marketed as invaluable, making possible my impossible success as a writer or

was it fear of missing chances,

not being able ever at all?

So, I paused. I gave the decision space and an honest self examination.

I chose not to make what was touted as essential, a sure path, success in my creative goals.

I let it be, left it alone.

God revealed another way, something I already own.

At my fingertips, the tools and in my thoughts, deeply planted abilities are gradually peeping through towards the light.

I was reminded in my pause.

Can’t believe sometimes, I continue this writing not much more than a journal. So many bloggers, I’m just one and my readership is oh, so small.

Yet, this daily thing is practice and it flows steady, gently from my daily morning pause.

Uncontrived.

I pause, I’m reminded.

Lord, help me not to flee frantically from the quiet place with you, the place where you keep me, continue to make me strong.

Keep me from the need for acclaim. Keep me in the quiet places where I hear you clearly saying, don’t go after that, I have equipped you, see me, see you. You are able, Lisa Anne; but, never, on your own. Let me lead you in the way you know so very well and let it show.

The way of quiet confidence, be willing.

Believe.

Because of mercy, Amen

“For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” But you were unwilling,”

‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭30:15‬ ‭ESV‬‬

31 Days, Freely – Talk

It’s Saturday before dawn in a different house than our own.

I keep the dog quiet, keep quiet with him.

Similar routine, just a different setting surrounded by my same books and such.

Quiet, quietly we sit.

God is not found in multiplicity, but in simplicity of thoughts and words. Margaret Mary Hallahan

A coughing sound once and then again, we hope they’ll sleep just a tad bit more.

Because the birds are now talking, sounds like just two or three and the big brown dog shifts to follow, staring stoically towards the terrace as voices from early walkers seep in.

Then he sighs, he’s got me, no worries.

I’ve got him.

I quiet him, hold him steady with one foot over his hips.

He’s good again, we’re good and God is talking, we’re listening.

I’m taking notes, writing thank you’s and feeling loved.

“So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us…”

‭‭1 John‬ ‭4:16‬ ‭ESV‬‬

31 Days, Freely – Door

“No human wisdom or understanding or plan can stand against the Lord.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭21:30‬ ‭NLT‬‬

It would be a miracle if I remember clearly my thought that I thought this morning.

Just for a second, I envisioned myself outside an old door.

Sitting on the steps, I was waiting, not pacing, relaxing rather than ranting.

Things happen when we don’t push down doors, when we focus on what we know now instead of what we feel we can’t go any longer not knowing it all.

When we wait and don’t jump to defend or give permission to turn and run, accept the unopened door, we lean in closely and like a surprise you’re not supposed to know is coming.

You can smile, you can know, good is on the other side, there’s hope behind the door.

31 Days, Freely – Why

In the work I do, I’ve learned the significance of the “why”.

A quiet, learned and soft-spoken gentleman spoke words almost ten years ago that I’ve used as my guide.

“Why should I care?”, the question potential donors are counting on my application and conversations to have an acceptable and compelling reply.

Yesterday, I began my day with my bare feet in the wet grass, the sunshine through moving clouds making pretty shadows on the green.

I welcomed the day with a big sweet dog that fours ago was an uncontrollable crazy question of why.

I returned home last night to a kitchen that wasn’t quite clean enough for me and a bed waiting to be made straight and ready for my rest.

(These are things I can control, small things of mine.)

In twelve hours of day there were interruptions, thoughtful and purposeful conversations and heaviness, heavy long and long drawn exchanges over loss by suicide and why.

I listened and did my best to lead, direct and redirect, knowing there’s no agenda here, there’s no real set of ground rules, no conversational etiquette, a support group for those bereaved by suicide.

There is only me, the timekeeper and host who sits sort of head of the table and gives space for the twelve or so separate unending respective and at times, remorseful whys.

So, I thought of small things before bed, still am just now.

Small things like a goofy rescue dog as crazy as I’ve ever known and all he now knows and has settled down for us and settled a whole lot of stuff for us.

Love him, love us.

I thought of the small mercies and grander mercies I’ve known.

I thought of my cousin’s timely call she’d considered an interruption and how I assured her, oh no!

How she prayed, prompted me to pray.

To pray giving thanks for small things in light of the others’ large, troubling and grievous things of others.

There’s a sweet, sweet song I love, the artist not so famous.

It has a happy little rhythm, a proclamation of sorts. Her voice, dancing lightly the lyrics of how the mountains before us will become plains.

“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin.

‭‭Zechariah‬ ‭4:10‬ ‭NLT‬‬

The prophet Zechariah spoke these words, recorded for me, for us to know that greater things are still to come.

Not necessarily grander in terms of perfection from our perspective.

But, certainly grander. Grander, in light of your why. Grander, not so much grandeur or achievement or acclaim.

A grander view of God.

Oh, the God of small things.

Alli Rogers “Small Things”

Like tennis balls, wet grass and interruptions we at first are aggravated over and then allow.

And are reminded why, the small things that enlighten us, remind us, compel us to pray,

Saying, thanks. Yes, God, thanks.

Today, I’ll put figures and outcomes and measures together and I’ll combine knowledge with true stories as a way to describe the difference made by a home, a temporary place to transition, to believe in the possibility of better.

Work, life, God and why.

I don’t despise the days of small things.

The mountains before me are becoming gradual plains. I see it more clearly now and understand why I’m so much more certain.

God is with me, can be trusted, can make my big bad things bring small and sometimes even greater good.

Father, our God, let us not despise the day of small things.

Because of mercy, Amen